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In the ever-evolving digital media landscape, Max Cutler continues to stand out as a trailblazing force, known for his pioneering role in shaping the podcast industry.

As Spotify’s former VP, Head of Talk Creator Content and Partnerships, Max spearheaded exclusive deals on the platform and managed key partnerships with influential voices including Alex Cooper, Joe Rogan, Emma Chamberlain, Dax Shepard, Markiplier, Brené Brown, and more. As the founder of Parcast, he rapidly propelled the true crime platform and podcast studio to international acclaim, leading to its acquisition by Spotify in an unprecedented +$100M deal in 2019. Over the years, Max has earned recognition from top industry publications such as Fortune’s 40 Under 40, Forbes 30 Under 30, The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Rising Executives Under 35, and scored a spot on their inaugural Most Powerful People in Podcasting list.

Now, as the founder of PAVE Studios, Max continues to push the boundaries and shape the future of media. We sat down with him to ask a few questions about the launch and his vision for the new media company:

What’s your vision for PAVE Studios and what sets it apart from other media companies?

In today's rapidly evolving media landscape, we're witnessing a transformative convergence of formats that's revolutionizing how we engage with content. Storytellers who successfully gain the attention of audiences and have built fandom through written, audio, and video content are leading the charge, cultivating robust communities and building diverse businesses.

Having navigated both the independent and platform sides of the business, I've witnessed firsthand how the digital landscape is evolving. It's clear to me that the lines between different content formats are blurring, creating new opportunities for innovation and creativity. By bringing all these formats together under one roof, PAVE is poised to lead this transformative shift in digital media. We’re positioned at the intersection of audio, video, books, and entertainment, and setting the stage for a better way of producing, distributing and consuming the world’s greatest content.

Why did you decide to initially focus on True Crime and Wellness? Will you branch out to more genres? 

Unlike many entertainment companies who adopt a broad content strategy, we wanted to build brands around specific genres that will live within the PAVE Studios ecosystem. Attracting engaged audiences through genre-specific original content and existing IP will create a powerful momentum for our business. It will also break discoverability barriers, foster vibrant fan communities and aggregate priority audiences. 

Our initial focus on Wellness and True Crime was strategic, given their addressable market and the continued popularity of these genres. We’ll introduce additional brands in the near future that target highly female audiences as well so we can build synergies across these studios. And down the road, we'll be rolling out brands tailored for more male audiences, expanding our reach and bringing even more great content to the table. So stay tuned—there's a lot more to come from PAVE!

When will you start rolling out original shows and where will they be available?

We’ll be launching new shows across OpenMind and Crime House in the coming months. We want to be thoughtful and strategic about the content we’re rolling out and when. We’re aiming to launch over 8 new shows this year. For us, it’s not about the number of shows but about the impact we can make. We want to make podcasts that will have the most impact across both audio and video. 

In terms of availability, our content will be free across all platforms so fans can discover more of what they love. I believe content needs to travel, and we want to meet consumers where they are at. 

What’s your advice for creators looking to launch new content and break through all the noise? 

Standing out is crucial in today's crowded landscape with over 4 million podcasts[1]. The average podcast listener tunes in to 8.3 podcasts per week[2] , so if you want to capture their attention, you've got to offer something truly unique and bring something fresh to the table. Whether it's through your format or your personality, avoid duplicating what's already out there. Authenticity and quality are paramount. Take the time to understand your audience and create content that resonates with their interests and passions.

What podcasts are you currently listening to?  

  • The town with Matt B. - Great podcast for Hollywood news

  • Crime Junkie - Ashley continues to push boundaries, be best in class

  • Rotten Mango - Great video adaptation

  • The School of Greatness - Lewis Howes

  • Serialously - Annie Elise great at this

What books are on your Summer reading list? 

  • Atomic Habits by James Clear

  • Outlive by Peter Attia 

  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek

  1. - January 2024

  2. Edison Research Infinite Dial Report 2024


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