Spotify strikes deal with Barack and Michelle Obama to produce exclusive podcasts

Barack and Michelle Obama's production company will start working with Spotify to produce podcasts, similar to its multi-year production deal with Netflix to produce TV shows and films.

Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company will start working with Spotify to produce podcasts, similar to its multi-year production deal with Netflix to produce TV shows and films.

The production company, Higher Ground, announced the Spotify partnership on Thursday. The Obamas will “develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts, connecting them to listeners around the world on wide-ranging topics,” Higher Ground said.

“Lend their voices” means the former president and first lady will sometimes be heard on the new podcasts — but their primary role will be in the development and production phases.

The first podcasts from Higher Ground Audio are likely to debut in 2020 at the earliest. Higher Ground and Spotify said they would announce the specifics later.

The Obama-produced podcasts will be exclusive to Spotify’s platform — part of a broader push by the company to make a bigger splash in the podcasting space. Spotify, a digital music service with millions of songs that launched over a decade ago, has acquired several podcasting companies this year.

“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world’s most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content officer, said in a statement on Thursday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

But similar to the Netflix deal, the tie-up with Spotify was described as a multi-year agreement.

The initial lineup of projects for Netflix was announced in April. The list includes a drama set in post-WWII New York City, a scripted anthology, a children’s series, and a number of non-fiction projects.

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