A new Spotify podcast is bringing Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen together again.
In “Renegades: Born in the U.S.A,” the former commander in chief and The Boss discuss politics, race, fatherhood, marriage, and more. The first two of eight episodes went live Monday for free and paid Spotify users.
“It is a personal, in-depth discussion between two friends exploring their pasts, their beliefs, and the country that they love — as it was, as it is, and as it ought to be going forward,” Spotify representatives wrote in a statement.
The podcast is constructed from several conversations the pair had in Springsteen’s New Jersey home studio from July to December.
It’s produced by Higher Ground Productions, the company Barack and Michelle Obama launched in 2018. (The company is also behind several Netflix documentaries, as part of a 2018 multiyear production deal.)
Obama and Springsteen’s unlikely friendship began on the 2008 campaign trail. Over the years, the pair has discovered that they have “a shared sensibility,” according to Obama.
“In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys,” the former president says in the first episode. “We still share a fundamental belief in the American ideal. Not as an airbrushed, cheap fiction or an act of nostalgia that ignores all the ways that we’ve fallen short of that ideal. But as a compass for the hard work that lies before each of us as citizens.”
The Obamas signed an exclusive podcasting deal with Spotify in 2019. Since then, the former first lady launched The Michelle Obama Podcast, which became the service’s top-performing podcast when it was released last summer.
Monday’s collaboration marks an important moment for Spotify, as it continues to expand into the audio market. The service has put more than $500 million toward acquiring podcast companies and striking deals with big names and brands like Kim Kardashian and Warner Bros.
In the virtual Spotify event where Obama and Springsteen unveiled “Renegades,” Spotify also introduced an expansion of its D.C. Comics shows and a new partnership with “The Avengers” directors, the Russo brothers.