Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground to leave Spotify deal
Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground production company will end its exclusive relationship with Spotify as the two seek a new, multi-million dollar podcast deal elsewhere, Axios has confirmed.
Why it matters: The Obamas want their content distributed as widely as possible, while Spotify has built its business on being the only place for certain podcasts.
- While Higher Ground retains ownership of its content, Spotify will still have rights to distribute the shows made under its current deal, a source tells Axios.
Details: Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said Higher Ground is talking with iHeart and Amazon's Audible and is eyeing a massive increase from its Spotify deal.
- Spotify declined to offer what the Obamas were seeking, since a widely-released show would likely end up on their platform anyway, even if not exclusively.
- Higher Ground's deal with Spotify doesn't expire for another six months, the source added.
Catch up quick: Since signing an exclusive deal with Spotify in 2019, Higher Ground has produced "The Michelle Obama Podcast," "Renegades: Born in the USA" featuring Barack and Bruce Springsteen, "The Big Hit Show" and "Tell Them, I Am."
- "The Michelle Obama Podcast" was one of Spotify's five most popular podcasts in 2020.
Be smart: This is happening as Spotify is losing Courtney Holt, an influential executive who was among the company's biggest dealmakers.
- Holt was a key figure in Spotify's podcast push, including licensing deals with Joe Rogan and the Obamas, and acquiring other podcast networks.
What's next: Higher Ground wants to find its new home quickly. According to Bloomberg, the Obamas hope for a new deal in the next few weeks.