When I think of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, one of the first descriptors that pops into my little pea brain — after “royal” and “content creators” and “parents to Lilibet, toward whom Prince Charles exhibits fan behavior” — is “podcaster.” This serves as proof of Harry and Meghan’s extraordinary and enviable ability to appear booked and busy while doing not much at all, because the fact remains that, more than 13 months after Spotify announced that the couple had inked a deal to produce podcasts with the audio streaming platform, the only thing that Archewell Audio has published to date on Spotify is a 33-minute standalone holiday special from December 2020.
Last year was supposed to be Archewell’s official debut. “In 2021, The Duke and Duchess will produce and host podcasts that build community through shared experiences and values,” the original Spotify announcement said. Last July, Archewell Audio hired a head of audio. That same month, the company told Marie Claire that the team planned to share more content in 2021. Harry’s arch-nemesis The Sun reported in November that Archewell Audio was expected to release new episodes in time for the holidays. But 2021 came and went, still with none of the H&M audio content that fans are clamoring for.
Now things have allegedly gotten so dire that Spotify execs have “taken matters into their own hands,” an unnamed source told The Sun. Spotify put up three job listings for six-month contract roles to work under its podcast arm Gimlet Media and build, launch, and produce “a new original show with Archewell featuring the voices of high profile women.” The ideal candidate, per one listing, “has experience with high profile talent” (😉) and “an interest in history, social activism, and popular culture.”
“Hiring a raft of in-house talent on Spotify’s side will ensure they finally squeeze something out of them as they bid to honor their contract,” the source told The Sun.
As a reminder, Harry and Meghan’s Spotify deal is said to be worth about £18 million, although the full amount reportedly wasn’t paid up front. While that’s nothing compared to the always-hustling (to spread misinformation) Joe Rogan’s estimated $100 million windfall, it’s still a pretty chunk of change, especially for little more than a half hour’s worth of content so far.
While some might shake their heads at Harry and Meghan for failing to hold up their end of the agreement, this entire affair has actually made me respect them more: for setting a good example and taking their parental leave very seriously; for spending their other spare time doing what they love, i.e., contributing content for other people like Oprah and Ellen and Dax; for inspiring their royal cousin Eugenie to get into the podcasting game; and, most of all, for continuing to refuse to do any real work. They are true role models for that.