Barack and Michelle Obama won’t be signing a new podcast deal with Spotify, Bloomberg reports, marking a major departure for the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions. “The company is instead talking to other distributors about a deal worth tens of millions of dollars, among the most-lucrative in the podcasting business,” according to the report.
Amazon’s Audible and iHeartMedia are among the “several” companies Higher Ground is in negotiations with for a new deal. Higher Ground had talked to Spotify as well, but it “declined to make an offer,” Bloomberg says. Higher Ground apparently wants to be able to make multiple shows and release them on platforms simultaneously, which would go against Spotify’s typical exclusives-based strategy.
Higher Ground, Amazon, and iHeartMedia didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. Spotify spokesperson Grey Munford declined to comment.
Spotify has come under significant scrutiny lately as the home of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, an arrangement that is reportedly worth $200 million and whatever headaches come from Rogan’s opinions about vaccines. Musicians including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from the streaming service in protest. It’s unclear if the controversy surrounding Rogan contributed to the Obamas’ decision to look elsewhere.