Obama and Springsteen in podcasts on Spotify

NEW YORK • Streaming giant Spotify on Monday unveiled a new show featuring two American cultural heavyweights: rock star Bruce Springsteen and former United States president Barack Obama.

Two episodes of the eight-show audio series Renegades: Born In The USA are now available online.

It is a marketing coup for Spotify, which has focused on podcasting as a growth driver since 2019, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into acquisitions.

"On the surface, Bruce and I don't have a lot in common," Mr Obama, 59, says in a promotional clip for the series.

"He's a white guy from a small town in Jersey. I'm a black guy of mixed race, born in Hawaii. He's a rock'n'roll icon. I'm... not as cool."

The pair met for the first time during Mr Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and have since become friends.

They recently spent several days in New Jersey recording the show together, creating what they hope to be a reflection on the state of America and ways to "unify" a nation rife with political and socioeconomic divisions.

The former president's foray into podcasting follows that of his wife Michelle Obama, who found success in the medium last year, notably with an episode that brought the pair together on air.

The new show is produced by Higher Ground Productions, the company the Obamas founded in 2018 that has also worked with Netflix on television and film projects.

In December, Spotify also announced a partnership with Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will produce a podcast series for the platform.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2021, with the headline 'Obama and Springsteen in podcasts on Spotify'. Subscribe