Barack and Michelle Obama will end their exclusive podcasting agreement with Spotify, according to reports | Podcasts

Barack and Michelle Obama are leaving Spotify amid reports of frustration over the terms of their multi-million dollar deal to exclusively create podcasts with the streaming giant, according to Bloomberg.

The Obamas announced in 2019 that they would partner exclusively with Spotify to release podcasts through their media company Higher Ground, in a deal worth $25 million. Renegades: Born in the USA, The Barack Obama Show with Musician Bruce Springsteen and The Michelle Obama Podcast have both been hits for Spotify.

However, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Higher Ground will leave Spotify when the current deal ends in October, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the discussions as confirming that Higher Ground was talking to potential new partners and that Spotify had declined to make another offer. .

The sources told Bloomberg that Higher Ground had grown frustrated with the limited audience reach that came with the exclusive periods guaranteed to Spotify in the deal, and wanted to be able to distribute its shows more widely.

Spokespersons for Higher Ground and Spotify have yet to comment.

The disagreements between Higher Ground and Spotify were first widely reported in February, with Spotify apparently wanting the Obamas to appear personally on more shows, rather than a limited series of eight episodes each. In turn, the Obamas have focused on promoting lesser-known voices on their roster of podcasts, which include Tell Them, I Am, which focuses on Muslim stories, and The Big Hit Show, which explores important moments from pop culture.

Obama’s Spotify deal came amid a string of post-presidency business deals for the couple, which included a Netflix deal to make movies and shows with Higher Ground, a record publishing deal for several books with Penguin Random House and events for Live Nation.

Although their podcasts will continue to be distributed through Spotify if Higher Ground signs a non-exclusive deal elsewhere, the Obamas’ exit would be a blow to the platform. The Swedish streaming giant has signed the former president and first lady as part of its aggressive expansion into podcasting, spending more than $1 billion to acquire multiple audio companies and strike deals with the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian.

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