Obamas in talks with distributors as Spotify backs down on new deal

  • Spotify and the Obamas’ production company have had a number of disagreements throughout their partnership.
  • Sources told Bloomberg that talks are underway with Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia Inc.
  • The Obamas’ podcasts with Spotify were among the streaming giant’s most popular.

The Obamas are about to end their partnership with Spotify.

The former first couple’s media production company, Higher Ground, will part ways with Spotify after the


giant refused to make an offer to renew his contract, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the negotiations.

AmazonAudible and iHeartMedia are among those currently in negotiations with Higher Ground over a deal that would be worth tens of millions of dollars, the newswire reported.

High Ground’s departure follows a number of disagreements with Spotify, such as how often the Obamas would feature in production and the exclusivity of shows, including the former president’s podcast with Bruce Springsteen, according to Bloomberg. .

Spotify did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, while Higher Ground did not immediately respond to a request made outside of regular US business hours. Neither Audible nor iHeartMedia immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

The Obamas helped boost Spotify’s podcast credentials after announcing in June 2019 that they would develop and produce audio shows for the streaming giant. Higher Ground had started looking for new deals in recent months before the end of the three-year deal, podcast industry insiders previously told Insider.

Higher Ground wants to produce multiple shows and be able to stream them across multiple platforms, Bloomberg reported. Spotify may also have declined an offer for this reason, while iHeart, which does not always use a proprietary strategy, may be interested for the same reason, the outlet added.

The first show under the Obamas’ Spotify deal, “The Michelle Obama Podcast,” was among the platform’s most popular podcasts when it aired exclusively, though Spotify later made it available on rival podcast apps. Barack Obama also hosted his own Spotify show called “Renegades: Born in the USA”, alongside musician Bruce Springsteen.

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