As Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell, you would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh. During Prince Harry’s recent travails in court he was given the in-depth public interrogation about ‘his truth’ that he has never faced before. As if this were not enough to disturb the equilibrium of the Sussexes, it has been announced by Spotify that their Archetypes podcast, launched to disproportionate fanfare in 2020, is to come to an end.
In that brief, halcyon period for Harry and Meghan shortly after their quasi-abdication, when everything they did seemed to turn to gold, they signed a $20 million (£15.6 million) deal with the streaming company. And for what? A dozen episodes of a mediocre podcast series, conducted by a host more interested in talking about herself than in engaging with her guests.
It was not wildly surprising, then, that Spotify has decided to pull the plug. The company is hardly known for handing out millions of dollars to already wealthy people for little return on their investment.
Recently, they talked darkly about a ‘strategic realignment’ in their podcasting department. They have since fired 200 people in a suitably strategic fashion, presumably in an attempt to make up some of the shortfall that that pesky $20 million paycheque must have cost them.
It has been suggested, that ‘going forward’, Spotify will not be seeking to sign up big names to highly paid exclusive deals: once bitten, twice shy. Yet one of their reasons for not commissioning a second series of the Sussexes’ podcast was simple: according to one anonymous insider, presumably delighted to be getting the dirt off their chest, Harry and Meghan simply hadn’t produced enough worthwhile content to justify their vast expense.