FIFA Makes Major Push Into Music, Starting With 'PlayOn' Podcast

Eps will feature soccer players and musicians

Global soccer is inextricable from global music. And now, FIFA is bringing them together with a sweeping new initiative called FIFA Sound, an entertainment strategy, created in partnership with Universal Music Group, designed to create connections between football fans, music enthusiasts, players, artists, and the game and songs they all love.

FIFA Sound launches today with a signature content series—a podcast called PlayOn, hosted by English singer-songwriter Liam Payne and co-hosted by Sky Sports broadcaster Jaydee Dyer. Each episode will pair star players with award-winning musicians for conversations about "transformative moments from their careers—on and off the pitch—through the songs that have provided a soundtrack to their lives," according to FIFA.

The first episodes will feature Carli Lloyd and Rachel Platten, Ivan Rakitić and Morat, Asisat Oshoala and Tiwa Savage, and more. Future episodes will include Deyna Castellanos, Lele Pons, Wretch 32 and more. 

PlayOn is the first of many initiatives planned this year with Universal Music Group for Brands, a division of Universal Music Group. New episodes of the podcast will be released weekly on Wednesdays. Playlists featuring the songs chosen by each player will be posted on Spotify.

"FIFA's vision is to make football truly global, accessible and inclusive. The crossover between football and music underscores this wider cultural relevance," says Jean-François Pathy, FIFA's director of marketing. "Both are universal languages and have the power to create unrivalled emotions. It's a natural fit to bring them together. It's been fantastic to see the enthusiasm around the launch of this strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to connect people through inspiring human stories."

"We're delighted to be able to launch this collaboration between FIFA and Universal Music Group, which brings together two of the world's biggest and most influential passion points—football and music—to create a series of unique fan experiences," says Olivier Robert-Murphy, executive vice president of Universal Music Group for Brands. "Starting with the launch of the PlayOn Podcast series, these initiatives will showcase the symbiosis and shared bonds between the world's best footballers and musicians alongside the fans that idolise them globally."

"I can't wait for everyone to hear what we've been working on with FIFA," adds Liam Payne. "The PlayOn Podcast has been such a journey—it's been awesome having these incredible players and special guests come together and exchange life experiences from both on and off the pitch, all through the lens of music."

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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