Spotify takes a hit of £34m after Harry and Meghan podcast axed

Spotify has taken a £34million hit in revenue on podcasts after axing a number of high-profile contracts, including Harry and Meghan's Archetypes.

The streaming giant revealed it had taken the write down in the second quarter of the year due to "write offs and contract termination" costs "in connection with rationalising our podcast content portfolio".

Last month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's spokesperson said the couple and Spotify had 'mutually agreed to part ways', following just one season of their podcast Archetypes.

The podcast, which ran 12 episodes from August 2022, involved Meghan chatting to celebrities, historians and experts about the history of stereotypes levelled against women.

Tennis star Serena Williams, singer Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton and actors Mindy Kaling and Constance Wu were among the guests.

Harry and Meghan signed the lucrative deal with the audio streaming giant to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth around 25 million US dollars (£18 million), in late 2020.

But the couple reportedly failed to meet performance targets to secure the full payout. The commercial arrangements have not yet been disclosed.

After their agreement to part ways with the streaming company, Bill Simmons, an executive and podcast host at Spotify, labelled the pair "f***** grifters" in an interview.

"I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation. ‘The Fucking Grifters.’ That’s the podcast we should have launched with them," he said.

There were also rumours Meghan faked several interviews on her podcast after sources said producers conducted interviews with her guests before her voice was edited in.

Speaking to investors, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, said the company was "stepping out of some deals and relationships that haven’t worked out" and admitted that in some cases "we overpaid relative to what we should have done."