Movin’ On Up: Barack and Michelle Obama Ink Deal to Produce Exclusive Podcasts for Spotify

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First it was Netflix, and now Spotify has scored an exclusive deal with Barack and Michelle Obama.

The former first couple has landed a multiyear deal with the music streaming service and their production company, Higher Ground. As part of the pact, the Obamas will develop, produce, and lend their voices to a set of podcasts on a variety of topics, Spotify announced Thursday, June 6. Specifically, the deal was made with the new division of the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Audio, which is responsible for the spouses’ foray into podcasts.

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Michelle and Barack Obama at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit on Oct. 31, 2017, in Chicago. The two-day event was to feature a mix of community leaders politicians and artists exploring creative solutions to common problems, and experiencing art, technology, and music from around the world. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” former President Obama said in a statement. “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 remarked on the ability to highlight typically marginalized voices through their company’s new audio arm.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world,” the former first lady’s statement said. “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 new partnership comes the year following the Obama’s establishing Higher Ground productions as part of the multiyear agreement they struck with Netflix last May.

At the time, the streaming giant said the couple will develop “a diverse mix of content,” that would likely include both scripted and unscripted series as well as documentaries or feature films.

This April, seven projects were announced for efforts that are in various stages of development. Among them are adaptations of David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” Michael Lewis’ “The Fifth Risk,” and a fashion drama set in post-WWII New York City focused on barriers nonwhite people and women faced in the era.

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