Turns out Spotify has been ready to cut ties with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for a while now!
As Perezcious readers know, the streaming platform and, Archewell Audio, Harry and Meghan’s company, announced late last week that they will be going their separate ways moving forward after originally partnering together for an exclusive podcast deal worth a reported $20 million. It was pretty surprising to think the royals would really be willing to let go of such a lucrative deal — which is why many think Spotify was the one to pull the plug. It didn’t help hearing Spotify higher-up Bill Simmons calling them lazy “grifters” on his own podast!
So, what really happened? We’re finally getting a possible answer from the streamer’s very own CEO!
On Saturday, BBC got hold of an old conference call with financial analysts from earlier this year that totally foreshadowed the royals’ latest predicament!
During the call, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek (above, inset) opened up about the mistakes the company made when they decided to shell out $1 billion to snag high-profile figures to join their streamer exclusively beginning in 2019. This, of course, included Harry and Meghan. Daniel said:
“You’re right in calling out the overpaying and overinvesting.”
“Overpaying”? Wow, he was already calling those high price tags a mistake! It sounds like Harry and Meghan were always going to have a hard time recouping the loss for the company if they overpaid to begin with. Predicting the future of the company, Ek promised:
“We’re going to be very diligent in how we invest in future content deals. And the ones that aren’t performing, obviously, we won’t renew. And the ones that are performing, we will obviously look at those on a case-by-case basis on the relative value.”
Interestingly, Spotify’s decision to part ways with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to pay big bucks for talent. They are notably still working with controversial star Joe Rogan, who reportedly received an astounding $200 million in 2020 for giving Spotify exclusive rights to his content. And even when critics called for the company to cut ties with him amid his spread of dangerous COVID misinformation, they refused!
Why? Well, it probably helps he brought his audience with him, having been making podcasts for a decade beforehand. Or that he drops several lengthy episodes every week — entertaining (and sometimes misinforming) an audience of around 11 million people on average! Even though Archetypes was successful upon release (topping both the US and UK charts), the actress just wasn’t pumping out even close to as much content as others!
But crisis communications guru Mark Borkowski also believes the celeb interviews the Suits alum conducted just weren’t appealing enough to a large audience, telling the BBC:
“It’s always about the content…. clearly there hasn’t been a big enough audience for it. If you can’t deliver your fee, no one’s going to pay it.”
Despite the unfortunate business decision, Mark thinks Harry and Meghan still have a lot of potential as a media brand — but it’ll take some work to win over Americans again! According to Newsweek earlier this year, the Sussexes’ popularity decreased in the US after the promo for their Netflix doc and Harry’s memoir. Now, Mark predicts they’ll have to “think hard” about what they can offer in a new project:
“It’s a thread that’s been pulled out of the brand. If they want to stop it unravelling they’ve really got to think hard. The biggest question is are they going to learn from this setback or are they going to ignore it as just a blip.”
Innerestingly, it doesn’t sound like Meghan is set on changing much. A rep for her talent agency told the Wall Street Journal this week:
“Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform.”
Sounds like it’ll be the same show, just available somewhere else! So she hasn’t gotten the hint that maybe she needs to switch things up? Or work a little harder maybe?
As for Spotify, they’re now turning their attention to less expensive third-party creators in an effort to be more efficient. Somewhat defending the royals, Max Willens, a senior analyst at Insider Intelligence, said lots of tech companies poured money into various stars for little in return a few years ago, so it’s not just Meghan and Harry not owning up to their end of the bargain! He called it an “understandable and natural part of [that] process,” adding:
“Those were big, big deals designed to generate buzz and grab headlines and they accomplished that. Whether they made good long-term economic sense is a different question.”
Hmm. Guess that’s true! While the fate of the couple’s Netflix deal also hangs in the balance, some sources claim Meghan could be set to earn millions upon millions if she accepts Dior’s rumored offer to be the new face of their fashion house. Plus, if she really does restart her blog, The Tig, there’s lots more potential for other endorsements. So we don’t think they’re going to have a problem making more money… they’ll just have to prove they are actually willing to work for it!
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Do U think the reason Archetypes was dropped from Spotify is because it wasn’t popular enough?? Sound OFF (below)!