Meghan Markle signs major new podcast deal after dramatic break-up with Spotify

Meghan Markle has signed a new deal which will find a new home for her podcast, months after a dramatic departure from Spotify, with whom she had a multi-million dollar contract.

New podcast partner

Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has signed a new podcast deal with Lemonada Media, according to Deadline. The podcast company will distribute Archetypes, Meghan’s podcast previously produced as a Spotify exclusive, and also produce a new podcast hosted by the Duchess.

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Lemonada is the producer of more than 50 podcasts, including Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as well as shows by Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee and Jennette McCurdy.

“I’m proud to now be able to share that I am joining the brilliant team at Lemonada to continue my love of podcasting,” Meghan said, according to Deadline. “Being able to support a female founded company with a roster of thought provoking and highly entertaining podcasts is a fantastic way to kick off 2024.”

“Our plan to re-release Archetypes so that more people can now have access to it, as well as launching a dynamic new podcast are well in the works. I’m so eager to be able to share it soon, and am overjoyed to be joining the Lemonada family.”

Lemonada CEO Jessica Cordova Kramer also expressed excitement about the new deal, saying the company was “blown away” by Meghan’s “collaborative spirit and clear vision.”

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“We are beyond honored that Meghan has trusted us to help democratize access to Archetypes, and that so many more people around the world will have access to the series soon,” she told Deadline. “Meghan’s talent as host, creator and conversationalist is unparalleled and we are thrilled to co-create a new series with her that fosters her approach to creating art that matters.”

The financials behind the new deal are not yet clear, nor are details about what Meghan’s new podcast will look like.

Previous Spotify deal collapsed

The new deal comes months after Meghan and Harry’s dramatic break-up with streaming giant Spotify, just three years after agreeing to a reported $20 million deal.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed the deal months after their historic break with the British royal family, in which they stepped back from senior royal duties, relocated to California and made bombshell accusations against The Firm.

DUBBO, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 17: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local farming family, the Woodleys, on October 17, 2018 in Dubbo, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty Images)

The plan was for Meghan and Harry to produce several podcasts for Spotify under their Archewell Audio, podcasts that centered on “shared experiences, powerful narratives, and universal values.”

Archetypes was the only recurring podcast the royals produced for Spotify. Hosted by Meghan, the show was centered on exploring stereotypes against women, with guests such as Serena Williams, Mariah Carey and Mindy Kaling.

The podcast aired 12 episodes between August and November 2022. It received mixed reviews from critics, but was a ratings hit, and debuted at #1 on the podcast charts in several countries.

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But there was trouble behind the scenes. According to the Wall Street Journal, Spotify execs were frustrated by how long it took to get Archetypes to air, the inexperience of the Archewell team, and Meghan reportedly asking for last-minute changes in the editing. Discussions about a season 2 of the podcast stalled for months before it was ultimately canceled.

The Sussexes also failed to produce any other podcasts under the multi-million dollar contract. Harry was supposed to host his own show, but struggled to land on an idea. According to Bloomberg, one of Harry’s ideas was to interview controversial figures — including Mark Zuckerberg, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump — and discuss how their childhood trauma shaped their lives. In another idea, he hoped to have Pope Francis on as a guest.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 23: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit One World Observatory at One World Observatory on September 23, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Finally, it was announced last June that Meghan and Harry had officially parted ways with Spotify. “Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together,” their joint statement read.


While the split was officially amicable, some at Spotify openly criticized the royal couple for not making good on their contract. “Turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent,” United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer told Semafor. “And, you know, just because you’re famous doesn’t make you great at something.”

The Ringer CEO and Spotify executive Bill Simmons openly bashed the couple, calling them “grifters.” “‘The F**king Grifters.’ That’s the podcast we should have launched with them,” Simmons said. “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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There are other factors beyond the Sussexes’ control, such as the changing fortunes of the podcasting industry. Spotify got into the game with splashy, multi-million-dollar deals with celebrity podcasters like Joe Rogan, but had major layoffs last year as part of a “strategic realignment.”

And while Meghan and Harry haven’t spoken publicly about the demise of their Spotify deal, an insider told the Daily Mail that the couple blames bad luck and forces beyond their control, including “Covid, economic woes, the death of the Queen and the decline in Price Philip’s health.”

“The word is that they think they’ve been really unlucky,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the couple are still in a contract with Netflix they signed in 2020, reportedly worth $100 million. The Sussexes have produced three documentary series for the streaming service, but other projects have been canceled, such as Meghan’s planned animated series. Netflix recently teased that the royals have “a bunch of development,” including a scripted series and a movie.

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What do you think of this news? Are you excited for Meghan Markle to continue her podcasting? Please share this story with your thoughts.


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