Brené Brown Stops Podcasts and Ends Spotify Deal

“I don’t have a plan for a future podcast,” she told listeners of “Unlocking Us.”

Brené Brown speaks onstage during "Brené Brown: The Call To Courage" at NETFLIX on April 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
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Sociology, psychology and shame researcher Brené Brown has exited her exclusive podcast deal with Spotify and stopped her two ongoing podcast series on the audio platform.

The author and podcast host released the final episode of “Unlocking Us” on Wednesday, and the last episode of the “Dare to Lead” show was released on Dec. 26.

Brown announced the break from podcasting on her penultimate episode of “Unlocking Us,” the first installment of a two-part episode titled “Living BIG.”

“I have some news for y’all. These two podcasts will be our last “Unlocking Us” podcasts on Spotify,” she said. “I don’t have a plan for a future podcast, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m taking a little break, at least for the first quarter of 2023. But this is the end of a season, the end of a chapter.”

In a statement, a Spotify representative said, ““Spotify is incredibly proud of the series that we made with Brené Brown. We wish her all the best and look forward to everything that she’s going to create next.”

Spotify declined to comment further, but an individual with knowledge of the matter told TheWrap that Spotify didn’t pick up Brown’s option for the series. The individual confirmed that Brown’s existing podcasts will remain on Spotify.

As part of a two-year deal announced in 2020 with the music streamer’s Parcast studio, “Unlocking Us” transferred exclusively to Spotify in Jan. 2021. Brown’s deal also resulted in the “Dare to Lead” podcast based on her book with the same title. 

“I’m so grateful to this community. I’m so grateful to every single guest we’ve had on ‘Unlocking Us.’ You’ll be able to listen to everything on Spotify,” she said a few minutes later.

Current episodes of both shows remain available to stream on Spotify. Potential future podcasts should be expected to appear on the platform as well as others. Brown has paused podcasting before.

Other exclusive partnerships similar to Brown’s include those with personalities like Joe Rogan and Esther Perel. Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground podcast was also part of the umbrella until it moved to Audible in June of 2022 for a first-look deal.

Last February, when artists like Neil Young pulled their music from Spotify in a boycott of the platform for enabling Joe Rogan to spread COVID misinformation on his show, Brown spoke out in favor of the boycott, pausing her Spotify-exclusive shows in protest. She later resumed releasing new episodes due to the contract.

She posted a message to her website explaining her return.

“I’m always going to stand firmly on the side of free speech, so I had a lot of learning to do,” she wrote. “As stated in the previous post, I’ve never asked Spotify to deplatform or censor Joe Rogan. I wanted Spotify to have a transparent misinformation policy (made available to the public) that balances addressing the complex misinformation issues we face today while respecting free speech. And to be meaningful, I stated that the policy must be applied across the platform without exception.”