It’s been a year for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, so it’s perhaps understandable that they’ve lost track of keeping their promise to produce and host a podcast “series” for Spotify in 2021 – shows that they believe would feature diverse voices and “build community through shared experiences and values.
But on Tuesday, they’ve produced just one 34-minute episode in the past 12 months with their production company Archewell Audio. On December 29, 2020, they released their “2020 Archewell Audio Holiday Special,” with the promise that more podcast episodes were imminent.
For their multi-year partnership with Spotify, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have certainly been paid well – up to $ 25 million. A UK tabloid said that amount was around $ 653,000 per minute.
Perhaps Harry and Meghan will finally release an episode on Wednesday, marking the first anniversary of the release of their only episode. An anniversary outing for a new episode of Archewell would certainly make a tidy news hook and give the British Prince and his former wife the TV actress some New Year’s publicity.
Harry and Meghan’s partnership with Spotify has been met with fanfare and controversy. Last month, a source told The Sun that Spotify was “mystified” by the lack of content produced by the couple, “especially since they don’t seem to have a problem producing content for other platforms.” .
This other content undoubtedly includes Harry and Meghan’s blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. Over the past year, Meghan has also successfully dealt with her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, as well as the release of her children’s book, “The Bench”. Harry also announced a new role as “Chief Impact Officer” for BetterUp, a San Francisco-based startup that promotes mental health in business. Harry has also appeared on other podcasts, including Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert, while Meghan promoted her book and other favorite causes on NPR and in appearances with Melissa McCarthy, Ellen DeGeneres and journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin .
You could argue that the couple have also been busy settling into their new life in California and expanding their family. Meghan gave birth to the couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana, in June, and she and Harry have publicly taken several months of family leave. In a family photo posted with their Christmas card last week, Harry and Meghan offered a brief glimpse of Lilibet, as well as their 3-year-old son Archie.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared the first photo of their daughter Lilibet in their 2021 Christmas card 😍 https://t.co/lbTn0YVFpr pic.twitter.com/FGbsguQzO6
– BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) 23 December 2021
The Sussexes’ partnership with Spotify was announced in December 2020, with the couple saying in a joint statement, “What we love about the podcast is that it reminds us all to take a moment and really listen, to connect to each other without distraction. “
Spotify has said that Archewell Audio will produce a “full first series” in 2021 that will be available to stream for free. Dawn Ostroff, Head of Content and Advertising for Spotify, said in a statement released in 2020: “We are proud to partner with The Duke and Duchess and look forward to hearing from listeners directly from them and others. other creators they will raise through our global platform.
Spotify further strengthened their partnership with Harry and Meghan in February, with the couple appearing virtually at a corporate event to talk more about their podcasting plans.
Calling from their $ 14 million mansion in Montecito, Santa Barbara County, Meghan said, “We use podcasting to drive powerful conversations…” Harry rang: “… that inspire, challenge and educate. “
But around the same time, British musicians expressed their anger at Harry and Meghan’s lucrative deal as some of them were only paid less than a penny per stream, the New York Post reported. . Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kate Bush, Robert Plant, Stevie Nicks and other artists have called on the UK government to reform the way musicians get paid when their songs are streamed online.
Musicians were also annoyed when Spotify boss Horacio Gutierrez told the UK Parliament the Sussexes were worth the cost, in that the partnership creates a “virtuous cycle” that helps struggling artists by attracting more people. towards the service, the New York Post also said.
But it’s questionable whether the Sussexes have drawn more people to Spotify since they only produced one episode a year ago. The episode featured some of their famous friends – Elton John, James Corden, Deepak Chopra – offering uplifting but innocuous messages on how to cope with life during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The podcast came with high production values, but it showed the couple’s desire to perhaps control the presentation too tightly, meaning it lacked the naturalness and immediacy of the best podcasts. However, the episode was well received by fans, especially since it also featured the voice of Archie, then 19 months old, saying “Happy New Year.”
Harry and Meghan’s lack of 2021 podcasts could be because they didn’t have a full audio team on board when they signed their Spotify deal in 2020, a source told The Sun.
“There weren’t any scripts ready and they had never done podcasts before,” the source said. “The holiday special was beaten together but, while it was well received by the fans, it was difficult for them to pull it off.”
It was hoped things would improve after the couple hired veteran podcast producer Rebecca Sananes in August to be their new chief audio officer, The Sun reported. New episodes were expected in time for Christmas, The Sun added.
But those episodes haven’t been released, raising questions about what’s going on with the partnership. Spotlight has not responded to media inquiries on when fans can expect the next episode of Archewell Audio to drop. However, through a spokesperson, Spotlight told The Sun, “Great things are happening. Stay tuned.”