Obama and Springsteen team up on Spotify podcast

(CNN Business) — Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have teamed up to present a new podcast on masculinity, race, fatherhood, and their professional and personal journeys. The podcast, called “Renegades: Born in the USA,” is part of a multi-year collaboration between Spotify and Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company.

Spotify revealed the new show on Monday along with dozens of announcements as part of its Stream On virtual event. The streaming platform, which used to be just a site for popular music, continues its expansion into podcasts and will soon include more exclusive shows on race, religion, politics and superheroes.

The agreement between Spotify and Higher Ground, Announced June 2019, was one of Spotify’s big bets in the podcasting industry. Earlier that year, Spotify acquired podcast studio Gimlet Media and podcasting platform Anchor. The company later bought Bill Simmons’ podcast empire called The Ringer and signed exclusive deals with other big names like Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Higher Ground and Spotify produced the Michelle Obama podcast, which launched in July 2020 and was a global hit in July and August, according to the company’s third-quarter earnings report.

Also in collaboration with Higher Ground, Spotify launched the new season of the Tell them, I am podcast. The series is hosted by Misha Euceph, first generation Pakistani-American, who was the executive producer of the Michelle Obama podcast. Spotify announced that the podcast will feature stories from Muslim voices including activists, artists, actors, and athletes.

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Spotify also announced a new podcast on Monday in collaboration with filmmaker Ava Duvermay and her art and social impact collective Array. The podcast is based on the law enforcement accountability project launched after George Floyd’s murder, and will investigate the officers who committed the crime.

In addition to its unscripted and non-fiction programming, Spotify has partnered with Warner Bros. and DC Comics on the narrative of superhero and villain podcasts. The first project, Batman Unburied (Batman unearthed) will be released later this year (Warner Bros. and CNN share parent company, Warner Media).

Spotify also signed a new multi-year podcast deal with Anthony and Joe Russo, the makers of Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: End Game.

Spotify reported in its fourth quarter earnings that it had 2.2 million podcasts, up from 1.9 million the previous quarter, and said that 25% of its monthly active users have listened to podcasts, compared with 23% of the previous quarter. previous quarter.

Spotify also reported that total podcast consumption hours have nearly doubled from Q4 2019 to 2020.

“It is no coincidence that the best creators in the world are embracing Spotify as a key platform for their podcasts; we have the reach, infrastructure and dedicated teams to bring your stories to the world and we are committed to growing your audience on Spotify, ”Courtney Holf, Head of Studies and Video said in a statement.

Spotify is expanding into new markets, which could increase its reach to more than 1 billion people. The platform is available in 93 markets and plans to grow to 178, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria.

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