Barack and Michelle Obama to end exclusive Spotify podcast deal

Former US first family signed multimillion-dollar partnership with the streaming platform in 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2017, file photo, former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama appear at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.  The Obamas have unveiled a slate of projects in development for Netflix, a year after the former president and first lady signed a deal with the streaming platform. The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, announced Tuesday, April 30, 2019, a total of seven films and series that Barack Obama said will entertain but also “educate, connect and inspire us all.”(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
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Barack and Michelle Obama are leaving Spotify and looking for other potential partners to team up with for their podcasts.

The former US first family signed a multimillion-dollar deal to exclusively make podcasts for the music streaming service in 2019.

“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation. It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas," said the former US president, at the time, about the partnership.

"We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together."

According to reports, the couple are unhappy with the terms of their deal. Bloomberg reports that their production company, Higher Ground, will not be re-signing with Spotify once its current contract ends in March. It has also been reported the Obamas are looking for new partnerships including potentially with Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia. It is said they will pick a new home within the next few weeks.

So far, the couple have separately appeared in two podcasts, The Michelle Obama Podcast and Renegades: Born in the USA, a podcast with Bruce Springsteen. Both have been successful for the streaming service.

Reports first came out in February stating the couple were not happy with their deal, as Spotify wanted the Obamas to personally appear in more shows, rather than one eight-episode limited series each.

Meanwhile, other podcasts from Higher Ground were instead focused on helping promote more voices. Among these are Tell Them, I Am, a series on diverse Muslim experiences hosted by Pakistani-American Misha Euceph, and The Big Hit Show, which explores important pop culture moments.

Bloomberg also says that Higher Ground is seeking a deal that will allow it to produce several shows and release them on many platforms at the same time, rather than only on one.

Updated: April 22, 2022, 11:08 AM
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