Spotify takes Sussexes' podcasts 'into its own hands'

Spotify takes Sussexes’ podcasts ‘into its own hands’: Streaming giant is hiring producers to manage ‘every step’ of Harry and Meghan’s pet project

  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Audio was launched in December 2020
  • The £18million podcast deal with Spotify was pledged to promote ‘shared values’
  • But now the audio giant has taken over production, with only one show streamed

They launched their £18million podcast deal a year ago with a pledge to promote ‘shared values’. 

But Harry and Meghan’s pet project appears to have suffered a blow, with audio giant Spotify reportedly taking production into its own hands.

After the deal resulted in only one show being streamed, it is advertising for in-house staff to cover ‘every step’ of the process. 

Spotify announced the partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Audio in December 2020 as they were ‘citizens of the world’ who wanted to ‘elevate underrepresented voices’. 

But aside from a 33-minute ‘holiday special’ that month featuring friends such as Sir Elton John and James Corden – and the intensely private couple’s son, Archie, speaking his first public words – there has been a deafening silence. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal with Netflix

Spotify had said it expected the first ‘complete series’ from Archewell Audio in 2021, but has since given no further updates. 

In July, Archewell hired an experienced podcast producer, Rebecca Sananes, and confirmed it was ‘looking forward to sharing more content later in 2021’. 

Now Spotify is hiring producers through its podcast arm, Gimlet, to work with Archewell Audio. The jobs are being offered to applicants on six-month contracts based in Los Angeles. 

One advert for a senior producer role reads: ‘We’re currently assembling a show team that will build and launch a new original show with Archewell featuring the voices of high-profile women. 

‘The ideal candidate has experience working with high-profile talent, and an interest in the intersection of social activism and popular culture.’ 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s logo for Archewell Audio, their new production company, which was launched in December 2020

In the meantime, Harry has guest-starred on numerous other podcasts and made a series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey, with whom he and Meghan gave their shocking TV interview last March. Meghan has undertaken several media appearances. 

She and Harry are also working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal, with Netflix. 

Gimlet Projects develops and launches podcasts for Spotify, often involving ‘high-profile collaborators’. 

It says the new senior producer will be involved with ‘every step of the show including development, research and producing episodes’. 

Two other producing jobs are linked to the advert, but do not mention Archewell.

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