The Obamas are ending their podcast deal with Spotify, reports Bloomberg. The former first family’s Higher Ground production company is now searching for a new home for its podcast network, talking to other distributors for a deal worth tens of millions of dollars.
Higher Ground, which also produces film and television for Netflix, signed an exclusive podcast deal with Spotify back in 2019, but Bloomberg reports that the Obamas grew unhappy with the exclusivity. The production company is now shopping around its content with platforms like iHeartMedia and Amazon’s Audible, where its shows will be able to be shared on multiple platforms at once.
Another reason why the Obamas are shopping around is their limited interest in appearing in their company’s podcasts. The former president and first lady are reportedly each only willing to appear in an eight-episode limited series, while many other popular podcasts issue new content weekly. For some distributors, this isn’t enough of a commitment to justify the money they’re seeking.
Meanwhile, Spotify had hoped to cash in on the success of 2020’s The Michelle Obama Podcast and Renegades: Born in the USA — Barack Obama’s joint podcast with Bruce Springsteen — with more shows featuring an Obama, but the couple would rather produce content centered around a wider range of voices.
Higher Ground will continue to launch podcasts on Spotify through the fall, but the company hopes to sign a deal with a new platform in the coming weeks. On the TV side of the company, Barack Obama now serves as a nature documentarian in Higher Ground’s new Netflix show Our Great National Parks.