Obama leaving Los Angeles (LAX) Tuesday November 26, 2013. During his presidency Obama visited Los Angeles or Orange County at least 26 relationship-building times. Photo Credit Mark Stene.
Vanity Fair Hollywood 2020 edition pp 76-77. “Empire Building” by Joe Pompeo. “The Obamoguls. Propelled by still-potent hope, Barack and Michelle have gone multiplatform”.
“The Obama campaign’s emotional uplift has been translated to Spotify podcasts, Penguin books and Netflix shows.”…and “mega-events for Live Nation.” They have become very wealthy “without sacrificing too much of their ethical cachet.” Undoubtedly Obama is still inspiring and claims they are just carrying on what they have done for the last twenty years-connecting with people, building relationships and working with them. If making money is a byproduct of these earnest efforts then so be it. Former first couples have done the same with board seats, best sellers and public-speaking. Beside huge nostalgia for the Obama era amongst half of the country certain market conditions have given the Obama’s an extraordinary bump-those being “the rise of streaming entertainment and social media as mass distribution engines”.
Of particular note, Michele and Barack were reportedly paid $65,000,000 for her book Becoming and his yet to be published presidential memoir. Apparently, Spotify has paid $10,000,000-$20,000,000 and the NetFlix deal is said to top the publishing deal. Media deals are part of their Higher Ground Productions, Inc. which is reportedly avoiding overly political topics but they did win an Oscar for American Factory about a “shuttered GM Plant”.
Richard Plepler, formerly of HBO, commented “They [Obamas] have great taste, access to the best talent, and global distribution. Cynics say “It’s got the Democratic halo, but there’s this bourgeois element” but those close to the Obamas disagree saying “Their paths have always been driven by public service”. After the Democratic National Convention, Barack will be out campaigning for the nominee. Most are pondering the likelihood his memoir will be released before November.
Note the Obama’s declined to be interviewed for the Vanity Fair piece by Joe Pompeo.