Following the announcement that the Obamas had signed a multi-year deal with Netflix, Barack and Michelle have now signed an exclusive partnership with Spotify where they will produce a series of podcasts under their Higher Ground productions.
According to Billboard, the former president is expected to “develop, produce, and appear” on select podcast programs.
Neither the Obamas or Spotify have announced exactly when the first podcasts from the deal will released, or what type of content they will contain, but the couple have made a statement about the new deal.
— Spotify News (@SpotifyNews) June 6, 2019
“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” Barack commented. “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.”
Michelle said the pair were “thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether.” Continuing, she added: “Through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts.”
The move comes as Spotify works to expand its podcast offering. After spending nearly $340 million earlier this year to acquire Gimlet Media – maker of popular podcasts like Reply All – and Anchor, a company whose purpose is to make podcast creation easier, Spotify has said it is willing to spend up to $500 million in 2019 to improve its podcast catalogue. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC have projected that by 2021 podcast ad revenue will be around the $1 billion mark.
The acclaimed Oscar-nominated director, writer and producer suffered a stroke on April 17, and was subsequently admitted to the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His death was confirmed on Monday evening after his family decided to take him off life support.