Barack and Michelle Obama to produce podcasts for Spotify

Former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama react as their portraits are unveiled at Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington in February 2018Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Obamas say they want to use the podcasts to “amplify voices” that are often ignored

Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have agreed to produce a series of podcasts for music streaming platform Spotify.

The couple’s production company, Higher Ground, announced on Thursday a multi-year partnership with the music giant.

Under the deal, they will “develop, produce, and lend their voices” to podcasts distributed worldwide.

The Obamas launched Higher Ground in 2018 with a deal to produce Netflix films, documentaries and series.

A joint statement announcing the latest venture said the move into podcasts would allow them to “expand the conversation”.

“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,” Mr Obama said in the statement.

The former first lady said the podcasts would “amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether”.

The statement did not detail specific topics the podcasts would cover or when they would become available.

Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming service and has more than 217 million monthly active users.

It is currently investing heavily in podcasting as it seeks to move beyond music.

Speaking of the partnership with the Obamas, the company said it was a “privilege” to be working with “two of the world’s most important voices”.

The announcement on Thursday followed reports that another US political family was moving into media production.

Sources told US media outlets last week that former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea are in talks to form a film and TV production company that will focus on creating content about women.

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