Barack and Michelle Obama sign $20M deal with Amazon for Audible series after ditching Spotify

Barack and Michelle Obama’s multiyear deal with Amazon’s podcast platform Audible is worth at least $20million, experts have claimed.

The couple will have to contribute two shows and appear in up to eight episodes each, the industry insiders said.

The move will give the former first lady the scope to make less personal appearances than what was wanted under their former partnership with Spotify, the sources said.

Audible said the pair plan to use their new platform to ‘tell stories that elevate diverse voices and and experiences’.

The Obamas cut ties with Spotify after reporting clashing with the streaming giant over exclusivity and how much they were expected to appear in episodes.

They signed with the firm in 2019 for an undisclosed sum but it is believed to be around $30million – the sum scored by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Barack and Michelle Obama have struck a multiyear deal with Amazon to create podcasts and shows for its storytelling platform, Audible.  The couple is pictured together in January

Barack and Michelle Obama have struck a multiyear deal with Amazon to create podcasts and shows for its storytelling platform, Audible. The couple is pictured together in January

Audible will hold exclusive first-look rights to all podcasts created by the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground

Audible will hold exclusive first-look rights to all podcasts created by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground

CEO of the Patriarch Organization and Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants Eric Schiffer said the Obamas’ Audible deal will be at least $20million.

He told DailyMail.com: ‘The deal should cost Audible just north of 20 million and the Obama’s will need to contribute two shows with an estimated appearance cap of 8 episodes each for Barack and Michelle.

‘The Obama’s are looking wisely to reach a diverse international audience and the rationale for a partner that is flexible and can provide the two a multi-platform syndication solution.

‘Michelle wanted less personal appearances, and she got that with Audible, a choice which benefits Spotify and led to her and Barack’s deal going bust without the company resigning the duo.’

Audible will hold exclusive first-look rights to all podcasts created by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground.

But, unlike with Spotify, the content will be syndicated across multiple podcasting platforms.

Higher Ground and Audible reached a multiyear and multi-project deal on Tuesday, the companies confirmed.

The companies did not provide any details on what projects would be coming but said the shows Higher Ground creates for Audible ‘will reflect the companies’ shared mission to tell meaningful and entertaining stories that elevate diverse voices and experiences.’

Audible’s original content is typically only made available to subscribers, however the Obamas’ deal allows for their content to be distributed on a wide variety of platforms.

It is unclear if Spotify, which previously held exclusive rights to Higher Ground content, will syndicate the Obamas’ Audible-owned content.

The Obamas recently cut ties with Spotify after reporting clashing with the streaming giant over exclusivity and how much they were expected to appear in episodes

The Obamas recently cut ties with Spotify after reporting clashing with the streaming giant over exclusivity and how much they were expected to appear in episodes

Both the Obamas and Audible have applauded the deal, saying they look forward to using the storytelling platform to inspire others.

‘At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us,’ Barack said in a statement. ‘I’m looking forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire.’

Michelle applauded her husband’s sentiment, appropriate: ‘We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell at Higher Ground, and there’s no one we’d rather write our next chapter with than Audible.

‘Together, we will keep trying to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories — while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them.’

Audible executives noted they are ‘thrilled’ to welcome the Obamas to the platform and look forward to helping the couple ‘provide hope and uplifting guidance’ to their audience.

‘We have long recognized President and Mrs. Obama’s historic capacity to captivate,’ Audible Founder and Executive Chairman Don Katz said.

‘We are thrilled to welcome two of the most profound voices of moral and intellectual leadership of our times into the Audible fold, and to be able to elevate President and Mrs. Obama’s singular ability to provide hope and uplifting guidance—needed now more than ever—through their voices.’

‘For so long we have been inspired by the Obamas. Their passion, curatorial style and ingenuity is reflected in the content they have created across all mediums, as well as the talented team they have assembled at Higher Ground.

‘We are beyond thrilled to collaborate on audio-first original content that highlights their profoundly unique content and vision,’ added Zola Mashariki, head of Audible Studios.

The Obamas developed and sired five shows during their three-year deal with Spotify, including The Michelle Obama Podcast which is the platform's most listening to Spotify Original to date

The Obamas developed and sired five shows during their three-year deal with Spotify, including The Michelle Obama Podcast which is the platform’s most listening to Spotify Original to date

Higher Ground also developed Renegades: Born in the USA which featured conversations between Barack and singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen

Higher Ground also developed Renegades: Born in the USA which featured conversations between Barack and singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen

The Obamas’ deal with Spotify runs through October 2022. The streaming service claims it optional not to renew its deal with the couple.

However, Bloomberg sources revealed in April couple had clashed repeatedly with Spotify on two issues – giving the giant exclusive rights to their content, produced by Higher Ground, and how much they had to appear in the episodes.

Spotify pays podcast hosts like Joe Rogan and Alexandra Cooper, of Call Her Daddy, exorbitant salaries in exchange for having exclusive rights to air their content.

Rogan’s deal is said to be more than $200 million. Cooper meanwhile has a three-year deal worth $60 million, according to Variety.

Sources familiar with Obamas’ Spotify deal, said the couple felt exclusivity limited their audience. Instead, they wanted to be able to sell the content to multiple bidders. Spotify would eventually gain access to it.

Spotify also wanted the couple to appear mainly in all of the episodes, whereas they wanted to use the platform to elevate other, less famous voices.

Podcasts produced by Higher Ground for Spotify will continue to launch on the platform through autumn.

‘We are incredibly proud of our partnership Higher Ground and while we declined to extend our deal we are excited about the series we made together and those still to come in the months ahead,’ a Spotify told Variety.

Sources familiar with the Obamas' Spotify deal, said the couple felt exclusivity limited their audience.  Instead, they wanted to be able to sell the content to multiple bidders.  Spotify would eventually gain access to it.  The couple are pictured in an undated photo with their daughters who are now adults

Sources familiar with the Obamas’ Spotify deal, said the couple felt exclusivity limited their audience. Instead, they wanted to be able to sell the content to multiple bidders. Spotify would eventually gain access to it. The couple are pictured in an undated photo with their daughters who are now adults

Higher Ground also has an exclusive film and TV production deal with Netflix.  The company produced the docuseries Our Great National Parks which showcases the planet's greatest national parks and wild spaces

Higher Ground also has an exclusive film and TV production deal with Netflix. The company produced the docuseries Our Great National Parks which showcases the planet’s greatest national parks and wild spaces

The Obamas developed and sired five shows during their three-year deal with Spotify, including The Michelle Obama Podcast which is the platform’s most listening to Spotify Original to date.

The production company also developed Renegades: Born in the USA which featured conversations between Barack and singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen.

These shows will remain on the Spotify platform but are also reported available on all other podcast platforms, including Audible.

Higher Ground also has an exclusive film and TV production deal with Netflix. The company’s first film release, American Factory, won an Oscar in 2019.

The production company has also released Becoming, which is a documentary film following Michelle’s life, and Fatherhood starring Kevin hart.

It also produced the docuseries Our Great National Parks which showcases the planet’s greatest national parks and wild spaces.

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