Under the multiyear pact, the couple’s newly formed Archewell Audio production company will create programming exclusively for Spotify. Among those will be podcasts hosted and produced by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex themselves — with the goal of the overall slate to “build community through shared experience, narratives and values.”
Archewell Audio’s first podcast series for Spotify is expected to premiere in 2021. Before then, the companies will release a holiday special hosted by Harry and Meghan featuring “stories of hope and compassion” in celebration of the new year.
“What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” the Duke and Duchess said in a joint statement. “With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
News of the deal comes just a few months after Prince Harry and Markle signed a deal with Netflix for exclusive TV and film projects.
Earlier this year, Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back as senior members of the British royal family and become financially independent. The couple has been living in L.A. since March and recently purchased a $14.7 million estate in Montecito.
For Spotify, the exclusive deal with the couple marks its latest move to amp up its podcast business. It has a similar multiyear podcast deal with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and recently secured exclusive rights to “The Joe Rogan Experience” — a hugely popular but controversial show. Spotify also has podcast development deals with Kim Kardashian West, Warner Bros. and DC Comics, and the Duplass Brothers.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may live in California but the power of their voices rests in their status as citizens of the world,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in announcing the partnership. “That they are embracing the extraordinary capacity of podcasts on Spotify while also seeking to elevate underrepresented voices is a testament to their appreciation for the potential of audio storytelling.”
Like all podcasts on Spotify, including those exclusive to the platform, the Archewell Audio programming will be available for free with ads as well as to Spotify Premium subscribers with no ads.
Spotify users can subscribe to the Archewell Audio hub on the service (at this link). An audio trailer for the couple’s holiday special, produced in partnership with Spotify’s Gimlet studio, is at at this link.
Spotify now hosts more than 1.9 million podcast titles, most of which are nonexclusive. The company as of the end of September had more than 320 million users, including 144 million paid subscribers, across 92 markets.