It seems that the Obama and their podcast production company (Higher Ground Productions) are willing to abandon Spotify: reports it Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources. The Obamas have already entered into talks with other platforms, including Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia. Apparently there is a multi-tens-million-dollar deal on the table, one of the richest in the entire history of podcasts to date.
According to sources, the Obamas would be close to Spotify’s business modelaccording to which all contracts signed with creators are of total exclusivity. In other words, Higher Ground Productions cannot decide to produce a podcast and publish it on another platform; you have to go through Spotify. More generally, society doesn’t seem to like the idea that individual podcasts remain exclusive to a platform either. However, it is worth noting that Higher Ground would have tried to dialogue with Spotify as well, but that this has decided to remain faithful to its operating philosophy.
Nor is it impossible to hypothesize connections with the controversies emerged in the last period related (above all, but not only) to the podcast of Joe Rogan, accused of racism and disinformation on the coronavirus. Several artists and creators, including the likes of Neil Young, have withdrawn or threatened to withdraw their catalog should the platform not take action (Rogan’s podcast has remained in place, but some episodes have been removed and some have been implemented. notices and links to reliable sources when dealing with particularly sensitive topics). The episode may not have been decisive in itself, but it highlighted some potential risks of bonding exclusively to a single platform.
We remember that Higher Ground Productions is also involved in developing films and documentaries, in exclusive collaboration with Netflix. His first documentary, American Factory, even earned him an Oscar for Best Documentary; the next two received equally prestigious nominations but did not win. Higher Ground has currently released two films, three documentaries and four TV series, all distributed by Netflix; the podcast count (for Spotify, in fact) instead stops at two – The Michelle Obama Podcast and Renegades: Born in the USA. Interestingly, Netflix itself has recently begun dabbling in this type of medium as well, but it’s unclear whether the two sides discussed this.