Spotify’s multimillion dollar deal with Archewell Audio, the production company formed by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, may finally produce a show more than a year after its Dec. 2020 announcement. Archewell has released a statement saying that it Markle plans to release a new podcast this summer after the former royals were “encouraged” by the steps taken by Spotify to combat COVID misinformation.
“As we all continue to tackle the misinformation era, Archewell Audio has found it important to work with our partners at Spotify to ensure that the digital technologies so many of us use every day are rooted in strong principles of trust and safety. We are encouraged by ongoing conversations we’ve had with Spotify on this shared goal and have been working closely with their team—as well as their senior leadership—towards policies, practices, and strategies meant to raise creator awareness, minimize the spread of misinformation, and support transparency,” an Archewell rep said in a statement. “As we move forward at Archewell Audio, we too are eager to be responsible stewards of an audio landscape that is well-resourced with quality, fact-based information—particularly when it comes to public health.”
Based on that progress, Archewell said it is moving forward with a podcast series with Markle at the helm. It is expected to debut this summer. While it is not saying what the show is about, Spotify’s Gimlet Studios posted several job listings for in-house contract producers working with Archewell earlier this year. It said it was working on a weekly show featuring the voices of high profile women with a mix social activism and popular culture.
But just how interested podcast consumers are in what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have to say remains to be seen. A YouGov survey in Dec. 2020 found that a majority (53%) of those surveyed said they had no interest whatsoever in what the couple would produce. Still, nearly a quarter were either “very” or “somewhat” interested. Like other podcasts hosted the well-known and the infamous, whether it is a hit or not will depend on what is produced.
Archewell Audio has hired veteran podcast producer Rebecca Sananes as its Head of Audio last July and The Sun reported earlier this year that Spotify had given a “gentle nudge” to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step up their podcast production in 2022. The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Spotify had been expected last year but nothing was released.
Spotify’s Gimlet studio signed a reported $25 million multiyear deal with Archewell Audio in December 2020. The only show released so far was the 37-minute holiday-themed special released in December 2020. Based on that production schedule, The Sun estimates Prince Harry and Markle earned about $500,000 per minute for what they have produced for Spotify so far.