Spotify's Dawn Ostroff on Barack and Michelle Obama's Push Into Podcasting

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Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff

"It's the right time for them to make a statement," said the company's chief content officer.

With the Obamas coming to Spotify, chief content officer Dawn Ostroff addressed the former first family's push into podcasting, which was revealed in a June 6 deal announcement.

"It's the right time for them to be able to make a statement with Higher Ground, their production entity, about what's important in life, both in terms of personal politics, culture and all of the above," the exec said Tuesday, speaking onstage at the Cannes Lions festival.

The topics have not been determined and discussions are ongoing about specifics, but both former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will be doing individual podcasts, as well as producing additional shows.

"Both the president and Mrs. Obama have incredible voices in terms of what they want to say," said Ostroff. "I think it's safe to say we're so pleasantly surprised by the response, not only in the U.S. but globally, because people are really interested in what they have to say."

Ostroff, who previously served as entertainment president at Conde Nast and The CW network, said she believes in the growth potential of podcasting and its explosive popularity: "It's the next big thing, if it's not already. It's reaching so many people in a unique way, it's allowing people to have depth if they want to be informed, it's allowing people to be entertained, allowing people to have different experiences that they normally wouldn't be able to have. It's opening up a world to people."

She added, however, that Spotify's focus will remain on song streaming.

"Music is front and center no matter how you slice it — it is what our platform is known for and what it does best," said Ostroff. The company is adapting its playlist curation with a combination of editors and algorithms to work with podcasts, as well. "The truth is that this is going to be an audio platform where we're looking at music, we're looking at podcasts, and there are other ways in which we can communicate through audio, and that's what the goal is on a global basis."

The exec further cited a statistic that in the U.S., more people are listening to digital audio than are watching video or on social media on mobile, and added that their data shows Gen Z 's music choices are not limited by region or local language.