Audible scores first-look audio deal with Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground

Barack and Michelle Obama seen from behind, an arm around each other's waist, waving to a crowd of people holding signs.
Barack and Michelle Obama wave to delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, has signed an exclusive, multiyear, worldwide first-look deal with Amazon subsidiary Audible, the audio content company announced Tuesday.

Audio competitor Spotify recently opted not to extend its 2019 deal with Higher Ground, which produced Spotify shows including “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and “Renegades: Born in the USA,” featuring former President Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us,” Barack Obama said in a statement released by Audible. “I’m looking forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire.”


Michelle Obama added: “Together, we will keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories — while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them.”

“We have long recognized President and Mrs. Obama’s historic capacity to captivate,” Don Katz, Audible’s founder and executive chairman, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome two of the most profound voices of moral and intellectual leadership of our times into the Audible fold, and to be able to elevate President and Mrs. Obama’s singular ability to provide hope and uplifting guidance — needed now more than ever — through their voices.”

Further terms of the deal with Audible were not immediately disclosed.

Launched in 1995 as an audio books company and acquired by Amazon in 2008, in recent years Audible has been seeking to expand its entertainment offerings and appeal to more consumers. The company says it provides more than 700,000 audio programs from audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers and other media companies.

When negotiating with Spotify, the Obamas had been seeking a deal in which Higher Ground’s podcasts would be widely available and not exclusive to one platform, sources previously told The Times.

Higher Ground separately produces film and television exclusively with Netflix.