Bloomberg reports that Barack and Michelle Obama will not sign a new podcast agreement with Spotify, signaling a dramatic shift for the Obamas’ production firm, Higher Ground Productions. According to the article, “the company is instead talking to other distributors about a contract for tens of millions of dollars, one of the most profitable in the podcasting business.”
Higher Ground is in talks with “many” firms for a new contract, including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia. Spotify was also approached by Higher Ground, but it “declined to make an offer,” according to Bloomberg. Higher Ground appears to want to be able to produce numerous programs and release them on different platforms at the same time, which goes against Spotify’s usual exclusives-based approach.
A request for comment from Higher Ground, Amazon, and iHeartMedia was not immediately returned. Grey Munford, a representative for Spotify, declined to comment.
Spotify has recently been under fire for being the home of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, a deal worth an estimated $200 million and whatever issues come with Rogan’s anti-vaccine views. In protest, musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell took their songs from the streaming site. It’s unclear whether the Rogan issue influenced the Obamas’ choice to go elsewhere.