The Breakdown You Need To Know:
The Obamas’ deal with Spotify was rumored to be worth $25 million. Higher Ground’s first podcast for that platform 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. Higher Ground’s upcoming series The Sum of Us podcast series is based on Heather McGhee’s book and could possibly land on Audible.
“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us,” said Barack Obama.
Financial aspects and length of the deal were not disclosed. CultureBanx noted whether or not the Obama’s will have more flexibility in terms of distribution has yet to be determined as Audible is a well protected platform like Spotify. However, with this being a first-look deal and not an exclusive one, it means they might be able to sell shows to other platforms outside of the arrangement.
Spotify has spent billions to establish itself as a top podcast destination and typically seeks exclusivity from famous personalities in a bid to promote its platform, which is likely why it declined to make an offer for a new contract, according to Bloomberg. The deal was originally inked back in 2019 and has caused the Obama’s lots of frustration with its exclusive terms.
When it comes to reaching diverse audiences, Michelle Obama echoed her husband’s sentiments about parenting with Audible. “Together, we will keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories—while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them.”
Spotify’s spokesperson told Deadline that it was their decision to walk away from another deal with the Obama’s Higher Ground company. “We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Higher Ground and while we declined to make an offer, we are excited about the series we made together and those still to come in the months ahead.”