Presidential Podcasting: Barack and Michelle Obama Signed a Major Deal With Spotify

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama participate in the unveiling of their official portraits during a ceremony on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

Book deals and streaming deals and speeches, oh my!

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One year after landing a huge Netflix production deal, Barack and Michelle Obama have inked a new deal with Spotify to produce podcasts.

“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” the former president said in a statement via the Los Angeles Times. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”

As the L.A. Times notes:

The Obamas’ production company Higher Ground said Thursday that it has forged a partnership to create podcasts exclusively for Stockholm-based Spotify’s global platform. Publicly traded Spotify is the world’s largest streaming music company, with 100 million paying subscribers and more than 217 million monthly active users.

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Spotify reportedly has plans to invest as much as $500 million in podcast acquisitions.

Of course, inquiring minds would like to know but the price tag on the deal as well as any details about the potential podcasts are being kept under wraps for now. I’m sure we’ll know more about the latter in the future, as the development stage evolves. I think it’s safe to assume there will at least be one surrounding politics. Perhaps they’ll have another one dedicated to music since they’ve built a reputation for their love of sharing playlists. Maybe Mrs. Obama will create one dedicated to fitness and health. The opportunities are endless and our forever first couple has the creative world as their oyster.

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The podcasting partnership makes sense for Mr. Obama specifically, who has been in the podcast scene, appearing on popular shows such as WTF with Marc Maron; his administration’s former staffers went on to launch Crooked Media (Pod Save America).

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.