The Obamas are searching for a new home for their podcasts after Spotify reportedly declined to offer the former first couple a new contract because they didn’t make enough personal appearances on the streaming service.
Barack and Michelle Obama are reportedly in talks with several companies, including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia, on a deal that will likely be worth tens of millions of dollars, according to Bloomberg News.
The ex-president and the former first lady, who co-own the production company Higher Ground, will reportedly decide on their podcasting platform of choice sometime within the next few weeks.
Higher Ground is said to be seeking an arrangement that would allow it to release shows on several platforms simultaneously.
One of the sticking points in negotiations with Spotify was the Swedish company’s insistence on an exclusive licensing deal.
Even if the Obamas produce podcasts for another company, those shows will in all likelihood make their way to Spotify anyway.
Streaming services want the Obamas to make more frequent appearances themselves in order to generate more buzz for their company’s content, but the former first couple is reportedly willing to commit to no more than an eight-episode program.
Higher Ground was paid a reported $25 million after signing with Spotify in 2019.
But the partnership left both sides unsatisfied. Spotify wanted the couple to produce more content in which they would be the headline acts, while the Obamas preferred to remain in the background while spotlighting “new, young voices,” according to Vanity Fair.
The Obamas were also reported to be frustrated that the exclusivity deal with Spotify was preventing them from reaching wider audiences on more platforms.
Spotify has invested around $1 billion on A-list, marquee names including Joe Rogan, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Kim Kardashian.