Meghan and Harry’s £18m Spotify mega-deal could backfire as Sussex appeal ‘eroded’

Meghan Markle and Harry confirmed to attend Queen's Jubilee

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit their royal duties two years ago and moved to the US, where they reside with their two children – Archie and Lilibet. The couple have gone on to pursue commercial opportunities outside of the Firm, including signing a major deal with Spotify, worth £18million.

However, the partnership yielded no content for the streaming platform in 2021.

So far, Archewell Audio has only released one show, a 35-minute holiday special that featured guests including Deepak Chopra, James Corden and Elton John.

According to reports, Spotify was expecting further content from the Sussexes last year.

This was because their company Archewell Audio hired podcast producer, Rebecca Sananes in the summer of 2021, and stated it was looking forward to sharing more content later in the year.

However, no new projects for the couple have appeared on the platform.

Since then Meghan has announced she is working on a podcast called ‘Archetypes’.

The show is meant to “dissect, explore, and subvert the labels that hold women back”, according to a press release.

Marketing expert Baruch Labunski believes that, if the couple has a “positive experience” with Spotify, it could boost their “overall brand”.

But the internet marketing expert and web consultancy CEO claims that, if not, the deal could “further erode it”.

Mr Labunski refers to the recent blow experienced by the couple after one of two projects the Sussexes had announced with Netflix was scrapped in its development stage.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Netflix had axed an animated series created by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as part of their $100m (£72m) partnership with the streaming giant.

The project, with the working title Pearl, followed the adventures of a 12-year-old girl and was described as celebrating “extraordinary women throughout history”.

Baruch Labunski claims Meghan and Harry may now rely on their Spotify deal going forward, as the other ventures launched by the couple “haven’t brought success”.

He claims this could cause executives to “rethink bringing on more projects”.

He told Express.co.uk: “Harry and Meghan’s other ventures, so far, haven’t brought success.

“That may cause executives to rethink bringing on more projects.”

Mr Labunski refers to other commercial opportunities pursued by the couple after stepping down from royal duties.

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The founder of Rank Secure – a web design and internet marketing firm – added: “A positive experience with Spotify will also help the couple’s overall brand or it will further erode it.”

Last June, Meghan released ‘The Bench’, a children’s story focusing on the “evolving and expanding relationship between father and son”.

The former Suits actress’ book is said to be inspired by a poem Meghan had written for her husband shortly after the birth of their son, Archie.

The Bench reached the top of the New York Times’ Bestseller list of children’s picture books since it was released over in the US.

Despite the book doing well in the US, it failed to break the Top 50 sales chart in the UK.

Moreover, after announcing their Netflix deal in autumn 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed only two projects in the pipeline – Pearl and a documentary titled Heart of Invictus

Meghan was due to serve as executive producer for the series Pearl, alongside David Furnish, Sir Elton John’s husband.

However, the children’s programme was scrapped by Netflix amid a series of money-saving efforts.

The move, which also saw at least two other children’s shows cut, was prompted by the streaming giant announcing it had missed its subscriber growth estimates and saw a decline in shares.

After the show was scrapped, Mr Labunski said their deal with the streaming service now relies on “how well” Heart of Invictus performs with audiences.

Despite axing Pearl, Netflix said Archewell Productions remains a valued partner and they are continuing to work together on a number of projects.

A Netflix filming crew followed Meghan and Harry during a visit to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games last month.

The documentary is expected to air later this year but no official date has been announced.

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