Pandora to Broadcast Second Season of Popular Podcast “Serial”

Pandora, the publicly traded streaming music company, is wading into podcasts.

Earlier today, founder Tim Westergren announced the service will be the “exclusive streaming partner” for the second season of “Serial,” the popular weekly podcast from the creators of public radio’s “This American Life.”

The show follows the real-life investigation surrounding the 1999 murder of Maryland teenager Hae Min Lee, one that resulted in the conviction of Adnan Syed, her former boyfriend. “Serial” launched one year ago, broadcasting 12 episodes and becoming the “biggest podcast in the world” in the process, according to “This American Life” host Ira Glass, who said in a statement today that the show’s tie-up with Pandora aims to broaden its reach considerably.

According to Glass, only 17 percent of Americans listen to podcasts. Meanwhile, as of last year, Pandora had 250 million registered users and 81.5 million monthly active users.

Serial was downloaded or streamed on iTunes more than five million times during its original airing. Its producers “have our fingers crossed that [show host] Sarah Koenig’s voice sounds enough like Justin Bieber’s that Pandora’s genome pushes the show on hordes of millennials,” said Glass.

The premiere date for the newest season hasn’t been announced, but the first season will become available on Pandora on Nov. 24.

Listeners can also subscribe to the second season of “Serial” for free on iTunes and other podcast apps.

Pandora didn’t respond to questions this morning regarding the arrangement, or whether it plans to strike similar deals. Spotify, a rival streaming music service, introduced podcasts into its repertoire back in May. Last week, Google’s parent company Alphabet also revealed a dedicated home for podcasts on its Google Play Music streaming service.