The Spotify exclusive podcast was reportedly cancelled in June this year after the audio giant ended its multi-year contract with the Duchess and Prince Harry’s audio-first production company Archewell Audio. Despite the deal between Spotify and Archewell Audio ending, a spokesperson from talent agency WME which represents Markle said that the Duchess will be “continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform”.
In March last year, Archewell Audio also placed a bid to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for exclusive rights to the name of the podcast. However, the government agency website has now placed an “abandonment” record on the bid 17 months after it was first made and the application has been withdrawn.
Spotify and Archewell Audio’s content deal was first made in December 2020 with plans to produce a slate of content the year after but it has since only produced the Archetypes podcast in August 2022 and a holiday special in 2020. The contract termination partially contributed to €53 (£45) million that Spotify lost in Q2 2023, having to pay off employee severance charges, content asset write-offs, and contract termination costs.
A Spotify spokesperson previously told PodPod that the decision to end the contract was a mutual agreement between both companies and that they were “proud of the series [they] made together”. However, The Ringer podcast network founder and Spotify’s head of podcast innovation and monetisation Bill Simmons has since slammed the royal couple in his podcast the week following the announcement and called them “f*cking grifters”.
“I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation,” Simmons said. “‘The F*cking 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*ck them. The grifters.”
Archetypes brought a lot of success to the Spotify platform, having reached #1 in the podcast charts in more than six countries shortly after it launched, according to Spotify’s Q3 2022 report. Spotify has, however, revamped its podcast strategy since then and has made several cost cuts including downsizing its podcast division with a round of layoffs affecting 2% of its global workforce in June, as well as relinquishing exclusivity over some of its hit shows from Spotify Studies and other talent-driven ones such as Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes.