The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no longer in business with Spotify Technology.
The streaming giant and Archewell Audio, the audio production company started by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, said they ended their partnership after 2 1/2 years. In a joint statement, the companies said they “mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.”
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Markle’s “Archetypes,” the one show produced during the deal, wouldn’t be renewed for a second season.
Producers of the show, which explored labels that hold women back, had been told that a second season wouldn’t move forward, people familiar with the matter said, following discussions months ago about the possibility of one.
Markle’s podcast is the only project she and her husband completed for Spotify after signing a roughly $20 million overall deal with the company in late 2020. The couple hasn’t met the productivity benchmarks required to receive the full payout from the deal, people familiar with the matter said.
The cancellation is a sign of the continuing correction in the podcast market, a format popular among listeners, but one that has proved hard to make profitable for Spotify and many of its rivals.
“The team behind Archetypes remain proud of the podcast they created at Spotify. Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform,” said a representative for WME, the talent agency that recently signed Markle.
Conversations are ongoing for other homes for Archewell content, a person familiar with those discussions said.
From deals with Netflix and Spotify to book advances and startup roles, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had to diversify their income streams since leaving the U.K. royal family in 2020. WSJ looks at how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex make their money and what some of it is being spent on. Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
Spotify last week laid off 200 people, including many audio engineers. The company announced a revamped approach to podcasting that includes making shows available on platforms outside Spotify and a shift to focus on offering creator tools to podcasters rather than making original content.
“Archetypes” launched to the top of Spotify’s charts of most listened-to podcasts in its premier week last August, and included celebrity guests from comedians Trevor Noah and Mindy Kaling to singer Mariah Carey, tennis player Serena Williams and media personality Paris Hilton.
Spotify and Archewell executives had discussed a second season of “Archetypes” given the first season’s success, some of the people said, but discussions stalled for months. Spotify told the team working on “Archetypes” in recent weeks that the second season wouldn’t be made.
Stepping back from working roles in the royal family and moving to the U.S. in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed content deals with Spotify and Netflix. The video streaming giant late last year released the docuseries “Harry & Meghan” in which the couple told the story of their relationship and the events that led them to split with the royal family.
Harry earlier this year released his memoir “Spare,” which revealed details of the prince’s life in the royal family, including learning about his mother’s death and terse exchanges with his father and brother over how his wife was treated in the press.
News Corp’s Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has a content partnership with Spotify’s Gimlet Media SPOT 0.35%increase; green up pointing triangle unit.
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Corrections & Amplifications
Meghan Markle is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform, according to a WME representative. An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed the quote to Archewell Productions.
Appeared in the June 16, 2023, print edition as 'Spotify Ends Relationship With Markle, Prince Harry'.