Did Spotify give the Sussexes a ‘gentle nudge’ to hurry up & produce some pods?

meghan ellen2

Are the Sussex Squad peeps okay with admitting that they thought they would be knee-deep in Sussex podcasts by now? In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed a deal with Spotify to create their own podcast and – I would guess – produce some original podcasts hosted by other people. Since Harry and Meghan got the Spotify deal, they’ve only produced one pod, a holiday special which dropped in late December last year. There’s been nothing pod-related all year! Even though the British media can be and often is extremely gross and nasty about the Sussexes’ business and money, I hope we can admit that it’s *slightly* strange that they haven’t done any kind of podding in 2021. Which is why I kind of believe this story from the Sun (I know, shocking), in which sources claim that Spotify executives were like “hey are you going to do a pod or what.”

Harry and Meghan are working to protect their £18million podcast deal after failing to produce any content this year — leaving Spotify chiefs mystified. Pressure has been mounting on the pair to follow up the only episode of their multi-year contract — a solitary 35-minute holiday special last December. Spotify last year excitedly announced it was expecting a full-scale launch of content from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex throughout 2021. But with only one show under their belts, the streaming platform has so far paid the couple £500,000 for each minute.

Meanwhile, Harry has appeared on numerous other podcasts, including Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert in May, where he said his life was like Jim Carrey film The Truman Show. They both also found time to sit down for their sensational Oprah interview in March — while the Duchess played pranks on the Ellen DeGeneres show earlier this month.

Spotify bosses are said to have given the pair’s Archewell Audio brand a “gentle nudge” to finish the content and protect the future of the multimillion-pound deal. It is believed that the couple are now close to satisfying their streaming giant paymaster.

One source said: “Spotify were delighted when they signed the couple, but the lack of content has mystified them. Particularly as they seem to have no problem producing content for other platforms.”

The Sun understands Harry and Meghan, who hired veteran podcast producer Rebecca Sanaes as their head of audio in August, will announce a raft of new episodes in time for Christmas.

Another source said: “When Harry and Meghan signed the Spotify deal in December, they didn’t really have a full audio team behind them, there were no scripts ready and they hadn’t made podcasts before. The holiday special episode was whacked together but, even though it was well received by fans, it was hard for them to pull off.”

Archewell Audio was approached for comment. Spotify said last night: “Big things are coming. Stay tuned.”

[From The Sun]

Yeah, I kind of believe all of this? I think Spotify executives probably did exert some friendly pressure but there were no threats of lawsuits or anything like that. Meghan and Harry both took family leave from work when Lili Diana was born, but I also got the impression that they had set up a recording studio in their Montecito mansion, and that the business of Archewell went on while they were on leave. So… I would hope that Harry, Meghan and their team put together something substantial this year, enough to placate/pacify the executives. It would be great if they do drop, like, ten episodes of a pod before Christmas, people would absolutely love that and Isla de Saltines would spend the entire Christmas holiday fuming and crying.



Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, YouTube, The Ellen Show.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

62 Responses to “Did Spotify give the Sussexes a ‘gentle nudge’ to hurry up & produce some pods?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Diana says:

    I assumed with Netflix that would of course take some time. But yeah with the podcast I am a little surprised they haven’t releases any of those yet. Maybe it ‘s more complicated to make a podcast then I think it is lol.

    • Elizabeth says:

      A podcast isn’t that difficult. A little time consuming, yes. But with their resources, they really could have put out a few this year.

      • Anna5050 says:

        I teach grade 7’s who can put a podcast together… so no def not difficult especially with what they have at their disposal. I assume they may committed to too many obligations or they plan to have a lot come out at once. Still it’s very very delayed from the first podcast they did.

  2. lanne says:

    I think they are also timing some things around the court cases as well. Everything is about timing. I’ll bet they are even giving some consideration to the Queen and her schedule as well–Harry’s still loyal to her as a grandmother, and it would be seen as a swipe against her had they released anything around, say, Remembrance Day.

  3. Eurydice says:

    Appearing on someone else’s show isn’t “producing content.” But, yeah, I can imagine they’re getting some nudges. They’ve committed to a lot of deals and projects. It seems a lot for two people with small children, but then I don’t know anything about their infrastructure and how they’re managing all of this.

    • SaraTor says:

      This is my sense as well. I’m a supporter of this couple and what they stand for, and that they get excited by big ideas. I sometimes wonder if that enthusiasm means they perhaps over-commit, though? From my perspective, it might have been better to put out a Netflix show, and one of their philanthropic projects, before signing a Spotify deal? Harry has his memoir, Invictus, his impact partner position with that life coaching company, producing an Archewell documentary, Spotify projects, Archewell foundation….

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m sure I will get crucified for this, but I think post-Megxit they were so anxious to put out how in demand they were and how much earning potential they had, that they jumped the gun and announced things earlier than they probably should have. They should have clarified “hey we have signed this deal with Spotify, stay tuned for content coming in 2022!”

      • atorontogal says:

        The only thing I’ll crucify you over is the use of the term “Megxit”.

      • Eurydice says:

        It was probably a combination of many things – certainly, anxiety about how to set up an entirely new life in the US, but also a zillion offers from various organizations and the idea of “strike while the iron is hot.” I don’t know about “jumping the gun” because the organizations themselves would have been eager to announce the deals.

        I’m going to go back to infrastructure because H&M showed up in the US basically homeless (though not destitute by any means) and they had to set up a household, an office, legal and financial connections. Then there are the Foundation, the existing commitments and the new deals, which are all different in many ways and need specialized staff which need to be supervised. Plus, the trauma of Sussexit, the media, taking care of Archie, a miscarriage, a new baby. I’m exhausted just typing this.

      • Jaded says:

        Please stop using the term “Megxit”. It’s “Sussexit”, both Meghan and Harry made the decision to leave a toxic, dangerous environment.

        It takes time to set up the legal/business framework around an organization that has such wide-reaching aims, all the while continuing with their regular charities AND dealing with legal action against an unruly and spiteful tabloid media. Throw in a miscarriage and a new baby into the mix and it’s like trying to juggle 18 balls at the same time.

    • Pat says:

      @Eurydice, a few months back wasn’t there something about Kanye West buying Spotify and him having an office there? I remember thinking, oh my goodness I wonder how or if that will affect the Sussex.

  4. Beloved says:

    The Sun is desperate for Sussex content.

  5. TIFFANY says:

    Naw, if they were violating their contract in any way, Spotify would have gone to them first and still nothing would have had a story leak to a publication like Variery or even People.

    • equality says:

      I agree. And I think they would have been getting updates all along about how things were progressing. Spotify isn’t some small startup; they have been around long enough to know how to keep track of their business.

    • JT says:

      Yeah. I don’t believe this story at all, but if it was true I think it would most likely come from The Hollywood Reporter or Variety like you’ve mentioned @Tiffany. I’d even consider it if it was TMZ. The Sun is not the usual place for this kind of gossip, hell they didn’t even break the Spotify deal in the first place. I think like most of the other British rags, The Sun is just desperate for Sussex content even though they have the Maga7 in their own backyard.

      • Jay says:

        Good point – “consider the source”, right? It seems unlikely to me that Spotify just handed the Sussexes a brown paper bag of cash, they would want to see at least an outline of project ideas.

        Podcasts these days can be highly produced, almost like mini documentaries, and can take a long time to produce to a high standard. If the Sussexes just wanted to do an informal chat to each other, once weekly, about their hobbies or Meghan’s cooking, they could and would.

        The fact that they have not makes me think they are producing a more polished series, maybe even about something they have mentioned more and more, online disinformation and harassment.

        IF that’s what is going on, it’s even possible that they wanted to wait for Meghan’s case with the fail to be resolved before putting out more that could be used against them.

      • iconoclast59 says:

        @Jay, I think you’re on the right track. The Sussexes want to tackle the disinformation and hate campaigns generated by the MSM. I think they’re being very careful about their moves, for both professional and legal reasons.

    • Sofia says:

      Yeah. If Spotify were truly upset, it would appear in a more reputable entertainment paper like Variety or The Hollywood Reporter.

    • Bex says:

      It’s as if the Sun thinks H&M can’t appear on TV shows or other podcasts because they have a deal with Spotify. The really are playing dumb.

    • Eurydice says:

      If it’s a nudge, it’s the kind of nudge editors give to authors, just to see if things are on track. But I wonder where the Sun got this story – did they call Spotify? Why would anyone there talk to them? To me, it’s more likely that they made up this story.

      • Jan says:

        Yes they did call Spotify, after reaching out to the Sussexes Reps with 7 or 10 questions, since they went no contact with the British Tabloids, there was no reply to their questions.

      • Eurydice says:

        @Jan – I’m sure that if they called Spotify, they got no answer from them, either. There’s no reason why Spotify would give a statement to the Sun. And none of the “sources” mentioned in the article are named as Spotify.

  6. Aud says:

    I wondered what happened with that deal. I thought they may have taken on a bit too much so things got delayed. Child, pregnancy, baby, lawsuit, Netflix, Spotify. It’s a lot.

  7. Trudy Pierre says:

    I’m not surprised it has taken Archewell a while to post anything. The Obama’s also announced their Spotify deal, and it took them a year to finally release anything. I think we should be getting something in a few weeks or in the beginning of January.

    I rather Harry and Meghan take their time in producing their projects and not rush anything.

    • Mtec says:

      I don’t know how the Obamas rolled theirs out, but there is a difference between announcing a deal and taking a while to release an episode vs releasing an episode and then nothing else for a whole year.

      I agree once they do, it will probably be made really well (and hopefully they’ll have many eps lined up) but they way they’ve done it so far is very trivial to me.

      However i doubt spotify is saying anything to them about it. I think that just the tabloids grasping at straws.

  8. swirlmamad says:

    Hopefully, they’ve been working on it for a while now and will drop a bunch of new episodes at once in the new year. I can freely agree that they should definitely get the ball rolling on this in 2022….I get why they wouldn’t have rushed anything out this past year with everything going on, but I do believe that there is lots going on behind the scenes. We know how they usually roll and they typically don’t push stuff out till it’s complete. In a way, they might even regret having done the Xmas special last year as it just set up the expectation that they needed to put it all out there when they weren’t prepared to do so just yet (and then we get articles like this one).

    • Genevieve says:

      Yeah, they seem be the type to have already worked on a few episodes they’ll submit in complete, fully packaged form to their employer-Spotify. However, I would think that they would keep Spotify informed of their plans, so the story rings as dubious.

  9. Bex says:

    “The Sun understands” is tabloid speak for we have nothing, can make a plausible guess, and can fabricate conversations we aren’t privy to.

  10. Mtec says:

    As much as I enjoyed the 1st episode of the podcast, I honestly think it was a mistake announcing it so early with no follow up episodes ready to air. I don’t understand why they decided to do that and why it’s taken so long for anything to be released since. Most podcasts record multiple eps in a day or week. Perhaps they didn’t plan it out as well as we thought they would.

    • Bex says:

      Maybe it was a trial run Spotify requested in order to see how much interest would be generated, as well as marketing to increase subscribers.

      Like someone else said, Michelle Obama’s podcast was announced a year before she even published on episode.

      For all we know, that ONE episode is what they produced themselves.

      Plus, they hired the Archewell Audio head in July 2021. That was almost 5 months ago.

    • Bex says:

      Plus, during the time between the Spotify announcement (December 2020) to now, Meghan had a baby, dealt with TWO Court cases, an in-law’s death, and numerous attacks on her reputation from the UK press.

      Some perspective goes a VERY long way here.

  11. ABritGuest says:

    The Sun desperate for new Sussex content even though they tell us the Sussexes are irrelevant & Brits are sick of them. Spotify & Netflix must be smiling thinking of the free promo British tabloids will give the Sussexes’ first projects under these deals. I just don’t understand why they aren’t focusing on the magnificent seven some of whom are desperate for attention.

    I think Archewell only hired someone an audio head in the summer & of course Harry& Meghan have been on parental leave so may be end of the year/beginning of 2022 before they launch the podcasts. Apparently the Obamas took a year before Michelle’s podcast series launched.

  12. Sofia says:

    Spotify and H&M are in more communication than any of us know. They know what the deal is. And like I said above, if Spotify were truly upset, this would have been leaked to Variety or something. Not The Sun.

  13. Becks1 says:

    Nah, I’m sure even if we did expect anything this year, Spotify knew exactly what it would be getting. My guess is there are various clauses in the contract for podcasts ready to release by certain dates etc. Spotify didn’t just hand them 20 million or whatever and say “soooo I guess we’ll just wait until you tell us you have some podcasts ready, have fun!”

    I think that they have a podcast or two about to drop and that’s why we’re getting this story, so that the tabloids can act like they were “forced” to put something out.

    • Lorelei says:

      The thing is, Spotify made this announcement in late 2020, specifically saying that the first completed series was expected “next year,” so 2021. And it’s now December of 2021 and there’s been nothing.

      “Archewell Audio and Spotify’s Gimlet studio will release their first offering; a holiday special hosted by The Duke and Duchess that will feature stories of hope and compassion from inspirational guests in celebration of the new year.
      In 2021, The Duke and Duchess will produce and host podcasts that build community through shared experiences and values.
      The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Spotify is expected next year and will be available to stream for free on Spotify.”

      I don’t particularly care or think it’s a huge deal, and obviously they’ve been in communication, but I do agree with Kaiser that there’s *something* to it.
      Unless they do drop a bunch of episodes by the end of the year, I can see Spotify not being at all happy that their statement turned out to be false, regardless of the circumstances.
      But I also think that the British media will obviously make a WAY bigger deal of it than it actually is and blow it completely out of proportion, so we Sussex supporters will automatically get somewhat defensive, even if the critics have a valid point this one time.

      Considering how much Harry and Meghan do, and have done all year, (especially compared to the Cambridges who’ve done basically nothing), it seems insane to complain about a “lack of content” — I just think Spotify in particular expected theirs earlier.

      • Eurydice says:

        A lot of things were expected in 2021, but Covid didn’t go away. I don’t know that Archewell Audio has to drop a zillion things before Christmas, but some specific advanced marketing might be welcome. Not just “stay tuned for something,” but “stay tuned for this specific thing.”

      • Becks1 says:

        But H&M aren’t to blame for Spotify’s statement as long as they are in compliance with their contract, and I’m SURE their contract has various deadlines and expectations in it. They didn’t just hand over money with no strings attached, or just the promise of a podcast. And if they’re in violation of their contract, I’m sure Spotify can take care of itself.

        I also would not be surprised if the deal was signed when Meghan was pregnant the second time, before her miscarriage, so she thought the baby would be born in January let’s say, and that they would have some time at home and then be able to focus on work. But losing the baby, getting pregnant again and having a June baby threw the “schedule” “off.” And if that was the case, I’m sure Spotify was okay with it and their contract was adjusted accordingly.

        And like Eurydice said, Covid didn’t go away like we all kind of thought it would. I mean i think this time last year many of us at least thought we wouldn’t be worried another variant or international travel or whatever again.

        But, like I said, my guess is that they ARE about to release something, and this is so the Sun can then say “Spotify pressured them to work!”

  14. Amy Bee says:

    Nah, apparently the Obamas took 13 months after they got their deal to produce their podcasts. Michelle has not released anything since last year. Harry and Meghan only hired a producer in August. The tabloids and some fans need something else to focus on other than what Harry and Meghan are doing all the time.

  15. girl_ninja says:

    I’ve been wondering about this myself. I think there are some things that Harry and Meghan should tighten up as far as Archewell is concerned but I have not doubt that they will. They seem to have a great team of people that THEY chose, like and respect. I’m excited for their future and what they will continue to contribute.

  16. Louise177 says:

    I don’t know anything about Spotify, podcasts, and contracts but I would think that there would be a timeline of what they needed to do. Not to mention the pandemic. Although not as complicated as a movie or tv show it’s probably difficult to get things done. It’s one thing to do it for fun or a side project but Meghan and Harry don’t have the luxury to be imperfect. The smallest misstep gets blown way out of proportion.

  17. S808 says:

    The Sun just wants some content but I also hope Spotify did give them a nudge cause I really enjoyed their episode and would like more soon!

  18. Sunday says:

    Absolutely not. Given everything we know about Meghan and how organized she is, do you really think the Spotify deal just slipped her mind and now she and Harry are scrambling for content? No way. I’d bet that Meghan and Harry provided Spotify with a full rollout plan (complete with dates) when the deal was signed. They’ll put out content when they’re meant to, and it will be great, and everyone will retroactively say ‘ohhh that makes sense now, I see why/how they did it this way’ so let’s all save ourselves the pointless speculation. We’re all celebrating Meghan’s win against one British tabloid, why on earth would we rely on dubious reporting from another?

  19. nancy says:

    they’ve hired a bunch of good people to work on the podcasts so I’m sure they’ve just been putting things together – I have no doubt there are reports going to spotify and timelines. it doesn’t suit the tabloids, but whatever.

  20. Angelica Schuyler says:

    I think it’s just the tabloids scratching at something, anything, to have something to “report” about the Sussexes. H&M value their freedom and independence from the BRF too much to mess up their business deals. I’m sure Spotify knows exactly where they stand in terms of their progress. They’re probably following the Beyonce model of dropping a whole completed series of work that the outsiders have no idea has been in progress all along.

  21. Jenni says:

    I think this all stems from the Daily Mail yesterday posting “questions” for Archwell Audio on Twitter yesterday, & The Sun probably jumped on it.

    They all remind me of my narcissistic ex, deflect, project & attack when you are not getting your way. This is just another way for the tabloids to deflect from today’s ruling, & to project & attack Meghan as untrustworthy. They are trash.


  22. Royalle says:

    I think they took every high profile deal they could while they were a hot commodity , to secure finances without thinking of what the long term vision for the content would be. I mean with their profile they wouldn’t need to present any proposals to get a deal , spotify was just lucky to have them for PR but lol … I kind of get pleasure from watching them shaft Spotify when Spotify has run millions of indie artists out of money. The tables have turned.

  23. Snuffles says:

    This is complete bullshit. The BM is desperate for more Sussex content and their inquiries on what the status is has been ignored. Which comes as no surprise because Harry and Meghan literally told the WORLD they are no longer engaging the royal rota.

    And even if Sussex Squad is itching for content, that doesn’t mean Harry and Meghan are slacking off either. It takes time to develop projects. Anyone in the industry knows this. Other people like the Obamas or Shonda Rhimes took at least a year after signing deals to put out content.

    I would say that Harry and Meghan are right on track and the buzz on the Twitter streets is that new stuff will be dropping in the New Year.

  24. MJM says:

    The Sun is stirring the pot to get at the Sussexes as per usual. They have no idea what Spotify executives are doing with Harry and Meghan.

  25. MsIam says:

    They have a media person who is coordinating the whole thing so it will be good. Only idiots like the Keens will throw crap out there just to say “Lookie lookie!”

  26. Robin Samuels says:

    The same people that want them to shut up and disappear are the ones asking about content? You can’t make this up. Why would Spotify feel the need to respond? Answering those questions would be in violation of the agreement. Harry and Meghan never disclosed the contents of the agreement, your information is based on what the British tabloids reported. Wow! The power of tabloid media.

  27. Catherine says:

    I am not at all surprised because I was aware of the length of time it has taken previous people to produce content. They didn’t even have their own production team in place. The surprise was that they produced the holiday podcast so quickly which is a credit to them. This only seems to be a problem for the tabloids and for people who made assumptions about when the podcast would be available. The tabloids are desperate to make it seem as if the Sussexes are struggling when in actuality they are thriving. They are trying to set a narrative. When the podcasts come out they will throw shade by saying they were delayed or the Sussexes had to be forced to produce.

  28. MsIam says:

    I hope their first podcasts are all about the British tabloids and the deal with the royal family. And also an interview with Christopher Bouzey. That would teach those trash-loids to ask about the podcast deal!

  29. Sarah says:

    While I think the execs at Spotify are eager to get something rolling, this article coming out today just makes me think that it’s only being written because of the #spotifywrapped trending on Instagram (not sure if it’s trending elsewhere) and it gave someone the bright idea to write this article because you know Spotify/Sussex = clicks and also Archewell’s new hire to run the podcast. I highly doubt that the execs at Spotify do not know the progress of how things are going with H&M’s podcasts.

  30. Chelsea says:

    Well to start: the second paragraph in this excerpt from The Sun is a lie. The only podcast Harry has been on ths year is the one with Dax which helped his podcast shoot up the charts at Spotify which is obviously good for Spotify. He did a few military podcasts and the teenager therapy podcast last year but nothing this year. Also: appearing on a podcast or sitting for an interview is not the same as setting up your own audio production company so saying “well they had time for Oprah” is beyond stupid. I was a but surprised Archewell didnt put out audio earlier this year but when Rebecca’s hiring was announced and i listened to her talking about it on her old podcast it became apparent that she would be building the audio branch up when she started in September so we wouldn’t hear anything until late this year/early next year.

    A lot of these similar Netflix/Spotify deals launched with the Obamas and the like have taken over a year to two years to produce and given the fact that they are launching a tv/movie production company, audio production company, and charity at the same time and they currently have multiple projects in various stages of production at Netflix I don’t think it’s the world’s biggest shocker that the podcasts are taking a little longer to be formally announced and launched. The key is they are still a huge topic of conversation so as long as they’re moving and transparent on timeline with their media partners it’s probably not a big deal especially since there’s been no grumbling in actual trade publications with real sources like Deadline, Vatiety, or the Hollywood Reporter.

  31. Jen says:

    Can they please drop their first one just as the Queen’s annual address is airing in England?