Having resisted pressure to end its relationship with Joe Rogan, Spotify is now seemingly set to lose one of its most high-profile other exclusive podcasting partners: Barack and Michelle Obama. This isn’t a grand fallout, but rather the imminent end of the three-year exclusivity deal with the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground, which was signed in 2019.
There appears to be some disagreement over who’s fed up with who though: Bloomberg suggested that the Obamas want wider distribution of their podcasts through non-exclusive deals with other platforms, but Variety cited one source saying it was Spotify that declined to renew the deal.
There appears to be a wider trend here: that as the big-money exclusive deals signed by Spotify and other platforms with podcasters in 2019-20 come to an end, the podcasters are understandably shopping around to see where the next payday may be largest, while the platforms are assessing whether the shows have been valuable enough to justify renewing.
With increased competition in the market, expect to see more churn in the months ahead – some of it from Spotify, but some of it to it as well.