The Sussexes didn’t do podcasts this year because they’re unpopular? LOL

I keep waiting to write this story because it feels like as soon as we stop anticipating a new Spotify podcast from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, that’s when they’ll drop something for New Year’s. That happened last year too, they surprised everyone with a professional-sounding Sussex pod just before New Year’s. Will the same thing happen now? Perhaps. It doesn’t change the fact that the Sussexes did not do much of anything with or for their Spotify contract in 2021. In early December, we heard sources claim that Spotify executives gave Harry and Meghan a “gentle nudge” to produce some content, which I kind of believe. Still, all of the claims about “Spotify is losing money on H&M” and “H&M got paid $500K per minute” are just… not what this business deal actually looks like. Meanwhile, the British media has found an opening:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed an £18million deal with Spotify in December 2020 but have since only produced just one 35-minute podcast episode. Speaking to Express.co.uk about the deal, media lawyer Ian Penman, who specialises in music streaming contracts, claimed that the podcasts are likely to have been less popular than Spotify and the royal couple expected.

He said: “It would not be an unfair assumption that perhaps their popularity was not as great as maybe they or indeed Spotify initially felt. I think you could draw a conclusion that if [Spotify] haven’t exercised the option on the next episode of the podcast, then maybe they did not have the popularity that either Meghan and Harry expected or indeed Spotify anticipated.”

But the media lawyer explained that Spotify is unlikely to have lost out. He said that they are unlikely to have paid the full £18million upfront and are instead likely to have paid the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a small advance, retaining the right to back out of the contract if the first episode was not popular.

He told Express.co.uk: “It’s famously the case in music deals, this goes back decades, that when people talk about a large deal, like Robbie Williams signing a deal for £15m or something, it does not mean he gets £15m on day one. So the problem you have here, I would imagine, is that when they talk about an £18m Spotify podcast deal, it probably means that they have signed their first product, in this case a podcast – they then have many, many options for further products. All those options are in Spotify’s favour. Make no mistake, they’re not in Meghan and Harry’s favour. If all those options are exercised, and we don’t know how many podcasts that relates to, it may be that the total money spent by Spotify is £18m.

[From The Daily Express]

Yeah, this is BS. Harry and Meghan didn’t *stop* producing pods in 2021 because they were suddenly unpopular. If the Sussexes did pods with any regularity, they would be some of the most-listened-to podcasts in America, and probably abroad too. The stuff about the Spotify contract is pretty tortured too – of course Spotify didn’t pay them upfront, it was never about any of that. My guess is still that Spotify has given some gentle nudges, no one is threatening to sue anyone, and that Harry and Meghan have kept Spotify apprised of their plans to produce content. I genuinely hoped that Harry and Meghan would do their own pod, but now I’m wondering if they’ll produce some pods hosted by other people.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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