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Obamas Team up Music Streaming Giant Spotify to Lend Voices for Podcasts

The music streaming giant offers its services in several countries across Asia, Europe, US, Africa and Middle Eastern regions

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Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May.
Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May. Pixabay

Former US President and First Lady Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have teamed their production company Higher Ground with music streaming giant Spotify to produce and distribute exclusive podcasts in their own voices for Spotify users across the globe.

The multi-year agreement would be with Higher Ground Audio, an expansion of the Higher Ground production company, that would oversee the move into podcasts, Spotify wrote in a post on Thursday.

Under the Higher Ground partnership, the Obamas would develop, produce and lend their voices to select podcasts, connecting them to listeners around the world on wide-ranging topics.

“We are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort,” said Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content Officer, Spotify.

Launched in 2018, Obamas’ Higher Ground began with an initial partnership with Netflix, aiming to create compelling content to entertain and inspire the viewers.

“Podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together,” Barack Obama said in a statement.

Wikimedia
Barack Obama, his elder daughter Malia, Michelle Obama and Sasha.

The announcement comes just months after the music streaming giant acquired podcast producer Gimlet and podcast tool-maker Anchor to keep generating original content.

Earlier in June, Spotify started testing the creation of curated playlists of podcast episodes revolving around specific genres in order to help creators find a bigger audience.

As part of the test, five playlists under comedy, true crime, geek culture, walking (motivational) and relaxing (mindfulness) would start showing up to around five per cent of the Spotify users in the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

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Spotify has more than 217 million monthly active users and it recently surpassed the 100 million mark in terms of Premium subscribers.

The music streaming giant offers its services in several countries across Asia, Europe, US, Africa and Middle Eastern regions. (IANS)

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Spotify Paying Tax on Less Than 1% of Paid Subscribers: Apple

Apple has slammed Spotify for wanting “all the benefits of a free app without being free”

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Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May.
Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May. Pixabay

Swedish music streaming service Spotify is not paying 30 per cent ‘Apple tax’ on its subscriptions via App Store as claimed but even less than 1 per cent of paid subscribers, Apple has said.

In a fresh filing to Spotify’s complaint to European Commission (EU), Apple said the music streaming service only pays 15 per cent revenue share on just 0.5 per cent of its 100 million premium subscribers, reports Music Business Worldwide (MBW) and German site Der Spiegel.

According to Apple, “Spotify hasn’t paid any additional commission on a single subscriber obtained via the App Store for the past three years”.

In March, Spotify filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission.

The tug of war between Spotify and Apple has intensified, with the Swedish music streaming service calling Apple a “monopolist”.

“Every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong and will argue that they have the best interests of competitors and consumers at heart,” said Spotify which entered the India market in February.

Spotify, Radio, News
The unannounced feature is first reaching Spotify users in the US where the news podcasts would be provided by The Wall Street Journal. Pixbay

“This is evident in Apple’s belief that Spotify’s users on iOS are Apple customers and not Spotify customers, which goes to the very heart of the issue with Apple,” it added.

Apple hit back at Spotify for its anti-trust complaint with the EU.

“A full 84 per cent of the apps in the App Store pay nothing to Apple when you download or use the app. That’s not discrimination, as Spotify claims,” Apple said in a statement.

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In its complaint with the EU, Spotify said that Apple requires it and other digital services to pay a 30 per cent tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from a free to premium subscription.

Apple has slammed Spotify for wanting “all the benefits of a free app without being free”.

The Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant also alleged that Spotify was trying to squeeze the artistes, musicians and songwriters, not just the App Store. (IANS)