Obamas to End Exclusive Deal With Spotify

Obamas to End Exclusive Deal With Spotify

April 20, 2022

Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s media company, is ending its exclusive podcast deal with Spotify and is shopping for other partners in the podcasting space, Variety has confirmed.

The Obamas are exiting their exclusive pact with Spotify, originally inked in 2019, after being frustrated with the company’s exclusive terms — primarily, they want to have their podcast programming as widely distributed as possible, according to a source familiar with the situation. Higher Ground also has disagreed with Spotify over how many of its shows would feature the former president and first lady, as first reported by reported by Bloomberg.

Reps for Spotify and Higher Ground declined to comment.

Podcasts that Higher Ground has produced for Spotify will continue to launch on the streaming platform through the fall, according to the Bloomberg report. But the company is currently in talks with other audio distribution companies, including Amazon-owned Audible and iHeartMedia, in hopes of reaching a nonexclusive deal for its podcasting content.

Higher Ground’s first podcast for Spotify was “The Michelle Obama Podcast,” released in mid-2020, which at one point had ranked as the most-listened-to Spotify original to date. The company also produced “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a series of conversations between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, released on Spotify last year.

In January, Higher Ground’s “The Big Hit Show,” focused on transformational moments of pop culture, premiered on Spotify. The company also released “Tell Them, I Am,” a podcast collection of universal stories from Muslim voices on the platform.

Separately, Higher Ground has a pact to produce films and TV shows exclusively for Netflix. The company’s first film, “American Factory,” won the 2019 Oscar for best documentary feature.

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