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Podcast Media Spotify

Obamas' Higher Ground co partners Spotify for podcasts 'lifting up new, diverse voices'


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

June 6, 2019 | 3 min read

The Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, has partnered with Spotify to produce podcasts exclusively for the streaming service, which has been making a major push into the podcasting space.

Obama and Michelle

The Obamas partner Spotify

Higher Ground, president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, already has a video deal with Netflix, but now it is making its first move into podcasting with fellow subscription service Spotify.

A podcast acquisition spree has seen Spotify acquire Gimlet, Anchor and Parcast for $400m in recent months. This latest deal promises to "produce powerful stories to entertain, inform and inspire, and to lift up new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry" for Spotify's 217 million monthly active users.

The Obamas will reportedly develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts on a wide range of topics as part of the multi-year agreement.

President Obama said: "We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation.

“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 Obama said the podcasts will "amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether".

Dawn Ostroff, Spotify chief content officer, added: "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.

“Connecting people with original and thoughtful creators – especially those with the ability to highlight underrepresented and indispensable narratives – is at the core of our mission and we are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort."

Spotify announced 100 million paid subscribers and underlined its podcast strategy in its 2019 Q1 results. But insight from Kantar suggests the company may have difficulty monetising its new podcast real estate.

The Drum has collated the major 2019 audio advertising trends, in which Spotify and its podcast strategy plays a vital role.

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