A Hollywood insider told People that everyone misjudged how successful Meghan and Harry would be out of the gate with their alleged $100 million Netflix and $20 million Spotify deals.
“The attention, commotion, and hubbub was wrapped up in the fact that Harry is a royal, and people threw money at them with hopes and dreams that it would translate into success,” the insider said. “But I think it’s been a rude awakening for everyone—it’s like they built a house with no foundation. The royal element, and in some ways the drama around them, inflated the price, deals, and expectations.”
Meghan and Harry ended their deal with Spotify in June. Their Archewell Audio division announced with Spotify that they “have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series [Meghant’s Archetypes] we made together.”
One veteran podcasting executive pointed out to People that Barack and Michelle Obama left Spotify too for Audible as “the shows weren’t done well, or they overpaid and they couldn’t bring in audiences.”
But the Spotify factor is just part of it: Meghan’s reservedness was also a detriment to her success, the executive suggested: “What works in podcasting is authenticity and intimacy and revealing things either about yourself or about a topic that says something that [listeners] haven’t really thought about. None of that happened. And Meghan wasn’t prepared to do that, because she lives an incredibly guarded life.”
A source close to Archetypes’ production explained that Spotify was tough to work with. Meghan and Harry “were given no formal lay of the land to kick things off, so they were already on unsteady footing even before the ink was dry.”
Meghan and Harry also were a little challenging for Spotify and the team. “Things moved very slowly on both ends,” the source said. “It was rare to have a direct conversation with them, so everything had to flow through a million middle persons.”
A source told Us Weekly that Meghan and Harry are “regrouping” after their initial entertainment efforts fell short. “They want to figure out how they can best expand the entertainment side of things.”
A source additionally told the outlet that the couple felt “snubbed” by Emmys voters over their highly-watched Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan not receiving a nomination.
Still, one source told Us in its cover story that Harry and Meghan are moving forward together as a team. “They’re a united front. As far as they’re concerned, it’s Harry and Meghan against the world.”
“So much of Harry and Meghan’s time together has felt like overcoming strife from all sides,” the source added. “They just do it together. They rely on each other for strength and always have.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.