After three years with streaming giant Spotify, former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are set to part ways with the tech company.
According to the Washington Examiner, their deal with the audio streaming service was part of the former first family’s “setting foot in the entertainment industry after leaving the White House.”
However, the agreement is about to expire — and Spotify isn’t in the running, given the fact the company didn’t make an offer to the couple’s production company, Higher Ground.
Instead, the production group has been negotiating with other services, including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia Inc.
The proposed deal could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
“Among the podcast productions made under the Spotify arrangement were ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ and ‘Renegades: Born in the USA,’ which also featured singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen,” the Examiner reported.
In February, reports began to emerge that employees with Higher Ground were frustrated with attempting to get “additional shows off the ground” at Spotify and that the Obamas might leave.
Spotify had backed out of the negotiations in part because Higher Ground wants to distribute its shows on various platforms, foregoing exclusivity.
According to Bloomberg, however, that could explain the interest of iHeartMedia — a platform which typically hasn’t relied on exclusivity contracts with the production companies behind its content.
However, Bloomberg also noted that Amazon typically pursues exclusive rights for their services.
As for the new deal, both of the Obamas are reportedly willing to commit to eight episodes of their own programs.
This, too, has turned off certain bidders; while few individuals carry the name cachet that the Obamas do, the most popular podcasts often appear weekly and the money the Obamas are seeking is in line with those podcasts.
Furthermore, nothing Higher Ground has produced has been particularly groundbreaking. While “The Michelle Obama Podcast” was one of the five most popular shows on Spotify in 2020, the network said, it was mostly the former first lady chatting with her family or friends on relationship issues.
In addition, Spotify had wanted more content from the Obamas. Higher Ground, meanwhile, had sought to use the deal to highlight different voices.