Spotify Parts Ways with Harry and Meghan as Podcast Deal Falls Through

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have parted ways with Spotify. The two royals had a deal to produce content for the music and video service. But the two parties appear to have ended their agreement.

The Sussexes and Spotify issued a joint statement. They announced there was a mutual agreement to part ways.

This was later confirmed by Spotify. The streaming giant said it was not renewing Archetypes, Markle’s podcast. The series’ first season ran 12 episodes from August 2022.

The Spotify contract was reportedly worth $25 million (£18 million) in 2020. It was one of the more important commercial deals the couple agreed to. They did this after leaving their royal duties and moving to the US in 2020.

The project was later revealed in the latter half of 2020. At the time, Prince Harry described it as something bringing forward different perspectives. He said people will hear from those that they might not have heard before.

Breaking Ground in Discussions on Women

Markle’s Archetypes podcast saw her engaging with various high-profile women. She talked to powerhouses like Serena Williams and Mariah Carey. All her guests discussed the different stereotypes women face.

Markle said she loved digging her hands into the creative process. She added that she enjoyed working on the writing and creative aspect of the podcast. Even if it means a lot of late nights.

She called her work on the podcast a labor of love. She said she enjoyed diving deeper into meaningful discussions with her inspiring guests. She also learned with them.

Her work paid off as Archetypes won the top podcast award. She received it later at the People’s Choice Award in Los Angeles last December.

The first episode of Archetypes was then released in August 2022. The podcast claimed it investigates the labels that hold back women. It also aims to find out how these stereotypes began. Markle also described her podcast as “uncensored conversations.” She will talk with women who have first-hand experience with stereotypes. These women know how stereotypes can shape an individual’s narrative.

Markle’s first guest was her old friend and tennis legend, Serena Williams. The two women talked about motherhood, perseverance, and ambition.

Markle admitted to Williams the word ambitious never had a negative connotation. But that all changed when she became involved with Prince Harry. After that, she saw that some people looked at ambition in a woman as a terrible thing. The erstwhile actress also admitted that it was hard to unsee and un-feel that type of negativity. She said she now notices it in the countless females who make themselves smaller on a regular basis.

The first few episodes were well-received. It catapulted Markle’s podcast to Spotify’s elite. It was among the most popular podcasts in the US, the UK, and Canada. It also did very well in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand when it was then launched in these countries.

The deal with Spotify might have ended but there’s still hope for Archetypes. A spokesperson for Archewell revealed the Duchess was still developing content. But it appears it will be on a different platform.

Where Did It Go Wrong?

The podcast deal was first advertised as a fruitful relationship. It should’ve produced several series. It’s disappointing that it only lasted for one season.

There were reports suggesting the dust-up was due to the Sussexes. The couple reportedly failed to meet Spotify’s productivity benchmark. The podcast only has 12 episodes in the period it was on the air. The content was all produced by the royal couple’s Archewell Audio. But they weren’t enough to get the entire $20 million payout.

One source agreed that Archetypes did well. Producing only one series for that duration wasn’t good though. They gave as an example President Barack and Michelle Obama’s output. Their production firm Higher Ground was able to develop several new series.

News also surfaced that Markle faked some of the podcast interviews. Various sources stated some of the interviews were reportedly done by different people. Markle’s questions were then added later.

Writer Allison Yarrow’s Instagram post was one such example. She announced she was going to be on the podcast. But she thanked producer Farah Saffari for interviewing her. There were guests who denied claims that Markle had other people doing her job. TV host and writer Andy Cohen said the accusations were insane. He also said that he spoke with Markle during their podcast conversation.

Despite the issues and the end of their Spotify run, Archewell only had positive things to say. In a statement, the firm said the team behind Archetypes remains proud of their creation. It also assured audiences that Markle will continue to develop content for Archetypes.

The royal couple has been leveraging their fame since they stepped back from their royal duties. It’s their preferred method of financial independence.

Their strategy has seen Prince Harry signing a contract with Penguin Books. The publisher has already produced and released his autobiography “Spare.” It also netted them a $100 million deal with Netflix.

The drama with Spotify has left many people wondering how it will affect their deal with Netflix. But it seems like nothing has changed as far as the streaming giant’s concerned.

Netflix stated that they value their partnership with Archewell Productions. The company said the documentary “Harry & Meghan” was their biggest documentary debut ever. They also have several ongoing projects with the couple. This includes the documentary “Heart of Invictus.”