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Spotify CEO Talks ‘Learning’ From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Failed Podcast Deal

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek shared some insight into what went wrong with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s multi-million dollar podcast deal.

“We thought we can come in and offer a great experience that both makes consumers very happy and allows new creators new avenues, and the truth of the matter is some of it has worked, some of it hasn’t,” Ek, 40, explained when asked about the duke and duchess in a recent interview with the BBC, hinting that the streaming platform’s partnership with the couple didn’t go as planned.

He continued: “We’re learning from those, and we are moving on, and we wish all of the ones we didn’t renew with the best of success they can have going forward.”

Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, signed a multi-year deal with Spotify — reportedly worth $20 million — in 2020. Under the deal, the duo’s production company Archewell Audio released only a 30-minute holiday special in 2020 and Meghan’s series “Archetypes,” which ran for a total of 12 episodes in 2022.

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Less than a year after “Archetypes” premiered in August 2022, Archewell Audio and Spotify announced that the exclusive deal had come to an end.

“Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together,” the companies said in June via a joint statement.

Spotify CEO Explains What Went Wrong With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Daniel Ek, Founder & CEO of Spotify Noam Galai/Getty Images

The premature parting of ways raised eyebrows and Bill Simmons, a Spotify executive and founder of The Ringer, soon weighed in on the drama.

“I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify negotiations,’” Simmons, 54, said during a June episode of his self-titled podcast. “‘The f—king grifters,’ that’s the podcast we should have launched with them. I have got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories. … F—k them, the grifters.”

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Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, weren’t surprised by the Spotify exec’s harsh comments. “It seems to be one assault after another these days with people lining up to take cheap shots at them,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time. “Quite frankly, both she and Harry are sick and tired of it.”

Spotify CEO Explains What Went Wrong With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Samir Hussein/WireImage

As for why the deal fell apart, the insider shared that Spotify “had been pushing Harry and Meghan for more content over the last year” and the royal couple “weren’t delivering” on the platform’s expectations.

Although the duo’s partnership with Spotify didn’t work out, the source added that Harry and Meghan felt “ready to come back stronger” after the setback and had their sights set on “a ton of exciting things in the pipeline.”

The twosome, who tied the knot in 2018, share son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2.

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