Spotify Pulls the Plug on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Podcast Deal

Twelve episodes in and there's no second season for Meghan's Archetypes pod.

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Spotify Pulls the Plug on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Podcast Deal
Photo:DOMINIC LIPINSKI (Getty Images)

It’s a tale as old as time: Couple meets. Couple falls in love. Couple becomes estranged from entire extended family and decides amidst the turmoil to start a podcast. Podcast gets canned. I certainly have a few people in my life I can assign this narrative to—and now it’s happened to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, too.

On Thursday, Spotify and the ex-royal duo’s company, Archewell Audio, announced in a joint statement that they “have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.” The decision is being framed as part of Spotify’s current restructuring, aka laying off 200 staffers earlier this month.

While I certainly don’t doubt a tech/media company’s constitutional right to haphazardly pivot business strategies until it has only a billionaire CEO and a thousand algorithms on payroll, my Spidey-Sense is telling me this decision was a long time coming.

Markle’s podcast, Archetype, took on the noble ambition of talking to mostly famous women like Serena Williams, Paris Hilton, Mindy Kaling, and Mariah Carey about the intricacies of being a woman, a concept that quite frankly feels only slightly less dated than the monarchy itself. After signing the $20 million multi-year deal in 2020, it took almost two years for Archetype Audio to release only 12 episodes starting last summer.

As the The Hollywood Reporter explained:

The end of the partnership was in part due to Archewell’s low output of content, given that Spotify typically requires multiple series or multiple episodes of a show released on a regular basis for its exclusive podcast deals, a person with knowledge of the matter told THR.

Yeah! If Meghan and Harry truly were of the people, they’d understand the public’s worrying need to be streaming, viewing, scrolling, texting at all times. Twelve eps in three years ain’t gonna cut it. Meghan’s reign as the Queen of Empty Content continues.

At the end of last year, Mandana Dayani, Archewell Foundation’s president, stepped down, only to be followed a few days later by the podcast’s producer, Rebecca Sananès, at the end of the show’s first season. Meghan and Harry took over Dayani’s role, but at that point, rumors started swirling about the fate of the series, even before Spotify had any plans to “restructure.”

A spokeswoman for Archewell told the Wall Street Journal that “Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform.” What that’ll be, we’ll just have to wait and see. And if that endeavor takes as long as this one did, I wouldn’t hold your breath!

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