Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s media company Higher Ground is ending there podcast deal with Spotify, according to Bloomberg. As the contract with the streaming giant expires this year (October 2022), they are looking to take their deal elsewhere.
Higher Ground is currently discussing possible contracts with other distributors that are worth tens of millions of dollars. Potential partners are said to be companies such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Audible and iHeartMedia Inc. The Obamas’ company has spoken with multiple big networks, including Spotify, however the streaming service declined to make an offer.
Barack and Michelle are willing to appear in an eight episode program, individually. Reportedly the former first family is looking to sign a deal that will allow limited episodes with wide distribution. Signing a podcast deal to produce a small amount of shows, released on multiple platforms simultaneously, is uncommon in the industry. These stipulations may explain why Spotify has refused to renegotiate with the Obamas. A widely released show has potential to end up on the streaming platform, deal or no deal. Regardless, Higher Ground is looking to sign their deal within the next few weeks.
In 2019, the Obamas partnered with Spotify to release podcasts as part of their post presidency media business. Barack’s eight-episode Spotify podcast “Renegades: Born in the USA” was a series of conversations between himself and Bruce Springsteen. Michelle’s Spotify podcast “The Michelle Obama Podcast” was thirteen episodes. Her show featured a series of deep conversations between herself and loved ones on the subject of relationships. Spotify said her show was one of its five most popular of 2020. Outside of the podcasting industry, Higher Ground is set to produce films and TV shows exclusively for Netflix. The company’s debut film, American Factory won a 2019 Oscar for best documentary feature.