Industry sources report that Barack and Michelle Obama may be removing their content from Spotify as left-wing backlash against the streaming company intensifies.
The former first family signed a deal with Spotify back in 2019 to produce exclusive content for the streaming platform. The multi-year agreement made between the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, and Spotify gave rise to “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and a podcast hosted by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen called “Renegades: Born in the USA.”
Now that Higher Ground’s three-year deal with Spotify is coming to an end, it appears that the Obamas are looking for greener pastures. The couple is reportedly frustrated with Spotify not enabling them to grow their company as quickly and diversely as they hoped Spotify initially would.
The Obamas are just the latest influential cultural figures to shift away from Spotify. In recent weeks, Spotify has come under intense scrutiny for hosting the immensely popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.” The podcast and its titular host, Joe Rogan, have become targets in the leftist war against COVID-19 “misinformation.” So, naturally, burnt-out old liberals who have become shills for corporate America and the Democratic Party are pushing for Spotify to censor Joe Rogan by threatening to remove their content from the platform.
Popular musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and David Crosby threatened to remove their music from Spotify unless the streaming service actively censors — or outright removes — “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Several influential podcasters have also begun to boycott Spotify.
However, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek made clear that he does not seek to exert editorial control over Joe Rogan’s podcast but does expect him to adhere to the company’s policies writ large.
In a recent Q&A session Ek said, “We’re trying to balance creator expression with the safety of our users.”
“So, I think the important part here is that we don’t change our policies based on one creator, nor do we change it based on any media cycle or call from anyone else,” Ek continued. “Our policies have been carefully written with the input from numbers of internal and external experts in this space. And I do believe they’re right for our platform.”
An anonymous employee of Spotify told the Los Angeles Times that “Spotify doesn’t approve Rogan’s guest list, they don’t look at his content until it goes up, and so they don’t have editing power.”
It is unclear if the potential exodus of the Obamas from Spotify is a merely a business decision or because of opposing worldviews regarding freedom of speech.