Spotify made main headlines final 12 months when it introduced an exclusive podcast cope with the Obamas’ manufacturing studio Higher Ground. Today, the corporate made a perplexing about-face. The firm says it’ll be releasing the primary season of The Michelle Obama Podcast on “a number” of other podcast listening platforms beginning tomorrow, September thirtieth — two weeks after the present’s season 1 finale.
The firm hasn’t detailed which platforms will have the present, however it’s in conversations with a number of, together with Stitcher, Google, Apple, and iHeart. A Spotify spokesperson says future seasons, if the present’s renewed, will “debut exclusively” on Spotify, however didn’t say whether or not the present will be windowed or totally exclusive to the service.
Obama’s present growth may assist Spotify discover a bigger viewers whereas additionally driving listeners again to the platform. It has examined this technique with other reveals, together with Dope Labs, Son of Hitman, and InCost with DVF, though it’s unclear whether or not these reveals are gaining listeners on Spotify. (Ads inside a few of these beforehand exclusive reveals promote Spotify, even on other platforms.) It’s additionally unclear if the Higher Ground deal at all times accounted for a wider launch — a Spotify spokesperson wouldn’t remark.
This information quantities to a 180-degree flip in stance for the audio firm. Although it’s piloted the technique with other reveals, the Obamas are a few of the largest stars — and sure the most important investments — that Spotify has determined to make available exterior its platform. The firm’s garnered consideration round its podcast ambitions due to its flashy acquisitions and big-name exclusive present launches, like one with Kim Kardashian West. In truth, Spotify’s press launch concerning the Higher Ground deal mentioned the partnership would “produce podcasts exclusive to the platform,” so it’s odd to see Spotify make this primary present broadly available after all of the exclusive hype.
At the identical time, some exclusive hosts have spoken up about unfair offers in latest months. Joe Budden, one of many unique exclusive Spotify hosts, denounced the platform final month, saying he deliberate to go away after his contract expired on September twenty third. An episode hasn’t revealed on his feed since September nineteenth. The hosts of The Nod, initially a Gimlet Media present, additionally mentioned in June they needed to personal their podcast as a result of Spotify, which acquired Gimlet, now owns the present’s IP.
It doesn’t seem to be the Obama present’s wider launch got here out of comparable points with Spotify, however nonetheless, it feels prefer it’s popping out of left discipline.
Update 9/29, 5:41 PM ET: Updated to mirror that any future seasons of The Michelle Obama Podcast will debut solely on Spotify.