Obamas to leave Spotify in search of new multi-million dollar podcast deal

Michelle and Barack Obama are ending their multi-million dollar podcasting deal with Spotify.

The pair are reportedly unhappy with the terms of their deal with the audio streaming giant.

They want to be able to make multiple shows to be released on platforms simultaneously – which their exclusive Spotify deal doesn’t allow.

Sources told Bloomberg that Higher Ground, the Obamas’ media company had become frustrated with the limited audience reach that came with the exclusive periods guaranteed to Spotify in the deal.

‘The company is instead talking to other distributors about a deal worth tens of millions of dollars, among the most-lucrative in the podcasting business,’ reported the site.

Higher Ground also produces shows that promote lesser-known voices like ‘Tell Them, I Am’, a show focused on Muslim stories, and ‘The Big Hit Show’, a pop culture podcast.

A new deal that will allow these shows to be distributed more widely is what the power couple seem to want with a new partner. As opposed to more shows where they appear personally.

The couple is reportedly in talks with ‘several’ other media companies including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia.

The Spotify deal

In 2019, the Obamas announced their exclusive partnership with Spotify to release podcasts through their media company Higher Ground.

The deal, rumoured to be worth $25 million, included Barack Obama’s show with musician Bruce Springsteen, ‘Renegades: Born in the USA’, and ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’, both of which have done well for Spotify.

The shows, tagged ‘Spotify Originals’, might be the last ones from the company featuring the former US First Lady and President as the Obamas won’t be renewing their contract when the current one ends in October.

The Obamas’ Spotify deal was part of the many post-presidency commercial deals for the couple, which included a Netflix agreement to make movies and shows with Higher Ground as well as multiple books with Penguin Random House.

While the platform will still host podcasts from Higher Ground, the departure of the Obamas is not ideal for Spotify.

The Swedish streaming giant has spent more than $1 billion on deals with the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian.

Spotify recently came under fire over Joe Rogan’s podcast, which has been accused of spreading misinformation about Covid-19. Several musicians, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, have removed their music from the streaming service as a response. 

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Spotify for comment.

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