Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen team up for timely new Spotify podcast

Spotify continues to tout its investment in the podcast space, announcing on Monday a new exclusive program by former President Obama and veteran musician Bruce Springsteen.

The eight-episode podcast, called “Renegades: Born in the USA,” is a discussion between Obama and Springsteen as they explore issues including race, fatherhood and divisions in the country. The men became friends after they met in 2008 on the campaign trail.

“In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys, trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much,” said Obama during the first episode of his podcast. “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.”

The first two episodes became available on Spotify on Monday. “Renegades” is the second podcast to come from a partnership with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. Last year, Michelle Obama launched an exclusive podcast with Spotify.

Spotify, which began as a music streaming service, has rapidly grown in podcasting in recent years with a series of acquisitions including of New York-based Gimlet Media and L.A. podcast companies Parcast and the Ringer.

“We’re in the midst of an explosion of audio creation,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek at a livestreamed event Monday. “We’re in the early innings of what we see as a truly global, creative economy.”

Spotify has more than 345 million users and 155 million subscribers. The company offers its streaming service for free with ads, and an option for listeners who prefer to pay a monthly subscription to listen ad-free.

The service is available in half the world, but the company has plans to increase its reach to more than 1 billion people, Ek said.

Spotify had 8 million creators on its platform at the end of 2020, and Ek envisions that the company will have as many as 50 million creators by the end of 2025.

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