Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company has signed an exclusive, first-look podcast deal with Audible, which is owned by Amazon. This comes just a few months after they were dropped by Spotify.
Higher Ground was started by the former president and first lady. It will make audio content for Audible, which is owned by Amazon, that “will reflect the shared mission of the companies to tell meaningful and entertaining stories that elevate diverse voices and experiences.”
The Hollywood Reporter says that the deal with Audible will give the Obamas a chance to reach a wider audience. This is because Audible, which is owned by Amazon, has original content on all of the major audio platforms.
The Obamas were said to be upset that the exclusive deal they signed with Spotify in 2019 made it hard for them to reach more people on more platforms.
“At Higher Ground, we’ve always tried to give a voice to people who deserve to be heard, and Audible is committed to helping us make that happen. In a statement released by Audible, Barack Obama said, “I’m excited to work with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also move people.”
Michelle Obama said, “We are so proud of the stories we’ve been able to tell at Higher Ground, and there’s no one we’d rather write our next chapter with than Audible.”
“Together, we’ll keep trying to tell stories that are interesting, surprising, and full of heart, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure they get to the people who need to hear them.”
In April, Spotify broke up with Higher Ground after years of working together. It was said that the Stockholm-based streaming giant was upset that the former first couple didn’t show up on the platform very often.
Bloomberg News says that Spotify turned down a contract offer from the Obamas because it also wanted an exclusive licencing deal with Higher Ground.
Streaming services want the Obamas to appear more often so that people will talk about their content more. However, the former first couple was reportedly only willing to commit to an eight-episode show.
Even if the Obamas make podcasts for a different company, it’s likely that those shows will end up on Spotify anyway.
When Higher Ground signed with Spotify in 2019, they were reportedly paid $25 million.
The streaming service released original content for the first time, such as “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and “Renegades: Born in the USA,” which was hosted by the former president and Bruce Springsteen.
But neither side was happy with the partnership. Spotify wanted the Obamas to make more content where they were the main focus, but Vanity Fair says that the Obamas would rather stay in the background and highlight “new, young voices.”