Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Strike Spotify Podcast Deal

The multiyear partnership kicks off later this month with a holiday special hosted by the duke and duchess of Sussex.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are becoming podcasters.

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have inked an exclusive multiyear deal with Spotify through newly formed production company Archewell Audio. Together, they plan to host and produce podcasts that uplift and entertain audiences.

The partnership will kick off later this month with a holiday special hosted by the couple that will feature inspirational stories. Spotify-owned studio Gimlet will produce the show in partnership with Archewell Audio.

"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," Harry and Meghan said in a 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."

There’s been speculation that Harry and Meghan would ink a deal with Spotify since this summer when the couple relocated to California and signed a comprehensive producing partnership with Netflix, which will see them make documentaries, feature films, children’s programming and more. Their path to Hollywood, following the January announcement that they would step back as senior members of the British royal family, has mirrored that of another famous couple, former President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama. Through their Higher Group shingle, the Obamas also have multiyear deals at Netflix and Spotify, which have led to documentaries American Factory and Crip Camp and interview show The Michelle Obama Podcast.

Meghan is no stranger to the media business. She was an actress, including on long-running USA legal drama Suits, when she met Harry. She left the show and gave up acting full-time ahead of their wedding and in preparation for her new role as the duchess of Sussex. Less than two years after their wedding, the couple announced that they would seek financial independence and move to North America as part of their withdrawal from official royal duties.

After keeping a low profile for much of the year, the couple — who have settled in Montecito — have started to participate in more public events. Together, they appeared as guests on the Teenager Therapy Podcast in October, and in November, Meghan wrote a deeply personal essay for The New York Times in which she shared details of a recent miscarriage.

At Spotify, Meghan and Harry are likely to feature diverse and underrepresented voices. Their first full podcast series is expected to be released next year as part of Spotify’s free, ad-supported product, which reaches 320 million people around the world.

"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," Spotify chief content and advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff said in a statement. "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. We are proud to partner with the Duke and Duchess and look forward to listeners hearing directly from them and the other creators that they will be elevating via our global platform."

For Spotify, the deal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex marks another major coup as the company takes on podcast giant Apple. Daniel Ek-led company has made audio-first programming a priority in recent years as it looks to grow beyond its music streaming roots. In addition to making a number of acquisitions in the podcast space, Spotify also has prioritized signing top talent to podcasting deals. Joe Rogan, Brené Brown, Jordan Peele, Mark Wahlberg and Paul Feig are among the other bold-faced names that have struck deals with the company.