The podcast deal Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed with Spotify is finally close to bearing (significant) fruit. As The Verge reports, Markle is releasing a podcast series on Spotify this summer through the couple's Archewell Audio production company. Details weren't available, but the show is premiering after Harry and Meghan were "encouraged" by discussions over Spotify's efforts to fight misinformation. The news is a "result of those meetings," Archewell said.
Harry and Meghan haven't been thrilled with Spotify's approach so far. The duo said they had been expressing concerns about misinformation since April 2021. Their worries became all the more pressing when Neil Young, Brené Brown and other creatives began pulling or withholding content from Spotify in protest over the company's seeming tolerance of COVID-19 misinformation from Joe Rogan's podcast. Archewell spokesperson Toya Holness said the company was partnering with Spotify to develop "policies, practices, and strategies" to curb misinformation and improve transparency.
The news may be welcome for Spotify. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle struck their podcast deal with Spotify in December 2020, but haven't produced anything apart from a holiday special. Markle's podcast series could both help Spotify recoup some of its investment and address concerns it was fighting its own podcast partners.
The challenge, of course, is persuading other Spotify-exclusive podcast hosts and networks to follow suit. Spotify has signed a number of high-profile exclusives, but not all of them have been successful — filmmaker Ava DuVernay exited her first-look deal just a year after announcing it. Markle's podcast may show that some creators are willing to stick around, but there are no guarantees others will be quite so confident.