Spotify Launches Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen Podcast

Todd Spangler
·3-min read

Barack Obama sat down with Bruce Springsteen for a series of wide-ranging conversations that will hit Spotify as an exclusive original podcast — the newest entry in the company’s expanding slate of audio programming.

“Renegades: Born in the USA” is an eight-episode podcast featuring the former president and The Boss, who have been friends for over a decade, “in deep and revealing conversation,” according to Spotify. In the show, the duo discuss topics spanning race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America.

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Starting Monday (Feb. 22), the first two episodes of “Renegades” will be available exclusively on Spotify worldwide. More info on the series is available on Higher Ground’s hub on Spotify at this link.

The Obama/Springsteen “Renegades” series is the second original podcast for Spotify under the company’s exclusive deal with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground. “The Michelle Obama Podcast” hit the streaming service last summer, and according to Spotify had the biggest debut of any original to date. The premiere episode featured Barack as Michelle’s first guest.

According to Higher Ground, Barack Obama and Springsteen first met on the campaign trail in 2008 and have “formed a deep friendship since.” On the “Renegades” podcast, they talk about their hometowns and role models, modern manhood, and the divided state of America today and how we can all move forward together.

“On the surface, Bruce and I don’t have a lot in common,” Barack Obama says in the intro to the first episode. “But over the years, what we’ve found is that we’ve got a shared sensibility — about work, about family and about America.”

He continues, “In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much. Trying to chronicle the stories of its people. Looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning and truth and community with the larger story of America.”

In addition to its multiyear pact with Spotify, Higher Ground has an exclusive production agreement with Netflix for scripted films, TV series, children’s programs and documentaries. The company’s first release, “American Factory” won the 2019 Academy Award for documentary feature.

Separately, Springsteen earlier this month was involved in a controversy over a report that he was arrested for DUI in November, which prompted Jeep to pull its recent Super Bowl ad featuring the singer from YouTube.

Spotify announced the Barack Obama-Springsteen podcast at its Stream On event Monday. Other podcast-related news from the event:

  • Spotify announced a multiyear deal with Anthony and Joe Russo’s AGBO production company for exclusive podcast content from the creators behind films including “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: End Game.”

  • Spotify will launch a podcast from Ava DuVernay focused on social change and cases of police brutality, based on ARRAY’s Law Enforcement Accountability Project, which launched after the murder of George Floyd.

  • The company is bringing out a second season of Higher Ground’s “Tell Them, I Am,” a collection of narratives from Muslim voices hosted by Pakistani-American podcaster Misha Euceph. A new episode will premiere every weekday during Ramadan, looking at the lives of 22 people from all over the world.

  • The Warner Bros./DC deal for original podcasts for Spotify will include stories about characters including Superman, Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, Joker, Catwoman, Katana, The Riddler, Batgirl and Harley Quinn, according to Jim Lee, DC’s chief creative officer. The first podcast under the companies’ pact, “Batman Unburied,” from executive producer David S. Goyer, will be released on Spotify later this year.

  • The company sketched out plans for the Spotify Audience Network, which will let marketers buy advertising inventory across Spotify originals and exclusives; podcasts via Megaphone and Anchor; and ad-supported music.

  • Spotify said it will begin testing the ability for podcasters to earn revenue through paid subscriptions for fan-only content on the platform.

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