Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were ‘given no formal lay of the land’ and set up to fail with Spotify as Archetypes source blames ‘too much red tape’ for £18m deal failing
- The Duke and Duchesses podcast deal was pulled by Spotify last month
Prince Harry and Meghan’s Spotify deal ended early because there was too much ‘red tape’ and they were ‘given no formal lay of the land’ which set them up to fail, insiders have claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lucrative Spotify project was dramatically pulled last month after they produced one 12-episode podcast and a festive special over three years.
The couple also reportedly did not produce enough content to receive the full pay-out from the reported £18million deal they signed after stepping down as senior working royals.
But an Archetypes production source has now claimed Harry and Meghan had ‘a lot of ideas and did pitch them’ – although the project was delayed by huge amounts of red tape between the two parties and ‘things moved very slowly on both ends’.
The source said: ‘They were given no formal lay of the land to kick things off, so they were already on unsteady footing even before the ink was dry.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were set up to fail by Spotify and were ‘given no formal lay of the land’, insiders have claimed
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lucrative Spotify project was pulled last month after they produced one 12-episode podcast and a festive special over three years
Another source close to the Sussexes told People magazine that they were being held to a higher standard than others, and had ‘plenty of things that are in different phases’.
They told the publication: ‘Very few other production companies are measured by what’s actually hit the airwaves.’
They noted that the royal life ‘wasn’t a world they wanted for their family’ and that their subsequent career choices reflected that.
Joe Quenqua, a senior media strategist, told the magazine that the couple’s brand Archwell had suffered from ‘serious growing pains’ while a royal insider said ‘there wasn’t necessarily a five-year-plan’ when Harry and Meghan left the UK for the US in early 2020.
The defence of the royal couple’s podcast episode ideas follow claims in June that Harry suggested interviewing Russian president Vladimir Putin about his ‘childhood traumas’.
In brainstorming sessions, he apparently came up with the idea of speaking to ex-US President Donald Trump and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about their formative years and how those experiences made them the adults they are today.
The initial 2020 announcement from Spotify referred to both Harry and Meghan producing and hosting multiple ‘podcasts’.
Sources close to the duchess were also at pains to say that she was looking to take her Archetypes series to another streaming platform
But Meghan completed just one, on the social stereotypes around women in 2022, as well as one joint half-hour Christmas edition in 2020 featuring a group of celebrity friends and their son, Archie.
The couple also faced an attack from fellow Spotify podcaster and senior executive at the company, Bill Simmons, who blasted them as ‘grifters’.
While industry ‘sources’ blasted the Duchess for faking several interviews on her show.
The supposed insiders claimed that Meghan had staff members on the show conduct interview with her guests, before audio of her voice was edited into the final episodes.
The podcast-focused outlet Podnews said ‘multiple sources’ have claimed that ‘some interviews on the show were done by other staffers, with questions edited-in afterwards’.
The site, however, did not highlight specific episodes where this might have applied.
In a joint emailed statement, Spotify and Archewell Audio, Meghan and Harry’s production company, said in June that they ‘have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.’
Sources close to the duchess were also at pains to say that she was looking to take her Archetypes series to another streaming platform.
Following the news that the Spotify deal had been cancelled, rumours circulated the couple’s £80million Netflix deal, signed in 2020, could meet the same fate.
But the streaming platform spoke out in support of the couple, with a Netflix spokesman saying: ‘The bond with Archewell Productions is one we deeply value. Our exciting journey with them isn’t ending any time soon.’
Questions still remain over what is next for the Duke and Duchess but in June experts suggested Meghan could become one of the highest paid influencers in the world, receiving £200,000 per post to endorse brands.
MailOnline has contacted Spotify for comment.
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