Hear that Harry and Meghan? Obamas may end Spotify deal amid Joe Rogan outrage
The production firm ‘Higher Ground,’ founded by Barack and Michelle Obama, collaborated with Spotify in June 2019 to create a series of podcasts that will be unique to the streaming service. Former President Barack Obama sent out the word to his adorers stating, "We've always believed in the value of engaging, thought-provoking discourse." But now, rumor has it that the Obamas are seeking a new podcast partner since they are unhappy about Spotify's sluggish development and want to focus on promoting new voices rather than producing episodes.
In June 2019, the Obamas agreed to 'create, produce, and contribute their voices' to several podcasts that will be carried on the music streaming service. And as per that agreement, Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen co-hosted the eight-episode podcast 'Renegades' that premiered on April 5, 2021. The Michelle Obama Podcast premiered in July 2020, with Barack as the first guest. On September 16 of that year, the last episode was uploaded to Spotify.
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But after all these successful podcasts, the decision of the Obamas to get a new deal has made people question whether their dissatisfaction with Spotify is because of the Joe Rogan controversy. Spotify’s podcast star Joe Rogan is facing a backlash for giving false information regarding Covid-19.
Spotify's reluctance in censoring Rogan stems could stem from the fact that The Joe Rogan Experience is Spotify's most popular show, with over 10 million listeners for every episode. In late 2020, the streaming service agreed to a contract for over $100 million for the exclusive rights to carry his podcast. What is notable here is that Obama's agreement was said to be worth a comparable sum.
Along with this, Spotify is being abandoned by other artists and fans who have already asked Spotify to remove certain artists’ songs because they don't want their favorite artists to be a part of such a controversial site. Speaking about this, in an open letter sent to Spotify on January 2022, folk artist Neil Young stated that he wanted his music removed from the site due to Joe Rogan's false talk. After this, on Wednesday, February 2, Spotify obliged Neil’s request and removed the singer’s songs. Additionally, singer Joni Mitchell also came in and demanded her songs be removed a few days later. Now, fans of pop star Taylor Swift are urging her to withdraw her songs from the service in support of Neil and Joni.
Many Joe fans on Twitter have started to slam Taylor Swift and other artists for offensive comments targetting Joe Rogan. One tweet stated, “It will never happen!!! He’s too good and Taylor who? Neil who? Joni who? Let [email protected] the first to say thank you….their music was polluting Spotify anyway”
It will never happen!!! He’s too good and Taylor who? Neil who? Joni who? Let [email protected] the first to say thank you….their music was polluting Spotify anyway— Paul LaClaire (@PaulLaclaire) January 29, 2022
On January 31, Joe addressed the matter in an Instagram video. He said, 'I'm very sorry that [Neil Young and Joni Mitchell] feel that way. I most certainly don't want that.” This statement was backed by a lot of his supporters even as fans of the Obamas and other famous personalities felt he was making excuses.
Right now, the exodus from Spotify is gaining momentum and the next streaming platform that the Obamas choose to host their podcasts can become a significant threat. Neil Young has already been in the news for offering his fans a free four-month subscription to Amazon Music to lure them away from Spotify. Whether the Obamas will choose Amazon Music too as an alternative podcast host remains to be seen.