The Obamas are heading to Audible

Well, now we know where the Obamas are heading after their split from Spotify. I had a whole fancy intro before I got the news, but that’s about as hot as hot capsule gets, so let’s go.

The Obamas release their podcasts on Audible after leaving Spotify

Amazon’s Audible and the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground announced a multi-year first-look deal on Tuesday, ending speculation about where the former first couple would take their podcasts after their deal with Spotify in several months.

That’s a big plus for Audible, which is better known for audiobooks than podcasts, even as it speeds up development deals. It’s also a curious choice for the Obamas, who have reportedly been frustrated with the limitations of making shows like Michelle Obama’s Podcast and Renegades: Born in the United States for Spotify which had multi-month exclusivity windows. The split was apparently mutual, as Spotify didn’t make an offer to extend their contract.

“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to raise voices that deserve to be heard – and Audible is invested in realizing this vision alongside us,” President Obama said in a statement.

“I look forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire.”

If accessibility is a priority for the Obamas, the Audible deal could be a tricky deal. Audible makes many podcasts available for free, even original ones. But it’s best known for its premium programming, which is protected by a $7.95 per month subscription. (Even Spotify-exclusive shows are still available for free.) Today’s announcement offers no details on whether the shows will be behind a paywall or what kind of programming the Obamas will offer, but Audible spokeswoman Keri Dizney said hot capsule that “Audible and Higher Ground plans to make Audible Originals available to the widest audience possible”.

Spotify is testing a new feature that lets you record and publish podcasts within the app

Michael Mignano, the co-founder of Anchor who has led Spotify’s podcasting tech stack since 2019, left the company last week but not before the introduction of a potentially game-changing new feature. Spotify is testing a new tool that will allow users to record and distribute podcasts directly within the app. It may not make for the most successful podcasts, but it lowers the barrier to entry for potentially millions of creators that Spotify wants to attract.

The feature is available to users in New Zealand and a small number of users in the United States, according to Spotify spokesperson Laura Pezzini. It also comes with a number of editing tools that allow creators to trim audio and add background music to their podcasts. This makes podcasts a step (or two) more accessible than Spotify-owned Anchor, which still requires a separate app.

Spotify didn’t provide further details on how the test would go, but the new feature appears to be key to the company’s goal of bringing in millions of new creators. Music streaming is still the company’s daily bread, but it requires the payment of expensive royalties. During the company’s investor presentation earlier this month, executives argued that profit margins on podcasts and, soon enough, audiobooks could potentially be much higher. Podcasts, however, still remain unprofitable for Spotify.

EXCLUSIVE: Inherited will return for the second season with a new partnership with YR Media

Climate change-focused studio Critical Frequency will bring back Inherited, a show about the youth climate movement that debuted in 2020, for a second season. This time around, it will partner with YR Media, an incubator for young journalists, to feature stories from young people about the impact of climate change on their future.

The first season of Inherited completed in fall 2020 with critical acclaim, if not chart dominance. But Critical Frequency has found success by partnering with other studios on environmental programming. He has teamed up with Crooked Media for the second season of This earth and with Scene on the radio for season 5 of The repair. He also sold talk shows hot plug to Crooked Media earlier this year.

YouTube Gives Friendly Podcasting Advice That Definitely Doesn’t Indicate a Hostile Takeover

As part of its Creator Insider series, YouTube released a video last week explaining why podcasters should publish their shows on the platform and best practices for doing so. First reported by Podnews, the tutorial is led by a YouTube Strategic Partner Manager who highlights why YouTube is great for podcasters (money, reach, yada yada). But as the lines between podcasts and videos blur and YouTube becomes more and more dominant in the space, podcasters don’t really have a choice.

For top-quality (or even mediocre) podcasts, video becomes a mandatory part of the process. Fans began to expect recording sessions to be videotaped, and a sports podcaster from the Locked on network recently said hot capsule that a fifth of its audience comes from YouTube. This is consistent with the findings of a recent study by Cumulus and Signal Hill which found that by including those who watch podcasts, in addition to those who just listen, YouTube took the top spot over Spotify and Apple.

The tutorial gave tips for creators, such as how to maximize SEO and user experience when it comes to creating playlists and episode titles. The video follows a blog post by the company also touting YouTube for podcasters. It’s a new attitude from the streamer, who has mostly been passive when it comes to podcasts (likely because he has bigger fish to fry). That seems likely to change. “We’ll keep you posted as we develop more tools for podcasters on YouTube,” the partner manager said at the end of the video (dun dun dunnnn).

That’s all for today. I’ll be back for Insiders later this week with some fresh juice from the podcast industry.


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