Harry and Meghan Under Pressure Over Spotify Deal As Clock Ticking

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are "facing pressure to deliver on the Spotify deal" more than a year after announcing their podcast, PR consultants have told Newsweek.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed multi-year contracts with Netflix and Spotify in 2020, when their post-royal careers appeared to get off to a flying start.

However, more than a year later, the only content to emerge from their Spotify deal is a 33-minute festive special that aired in December 2020.

The Netflix contract is also yet to bear fruit, although the couple have two shows in the pipeline.

PR expert Anthony Burr, of London-based Burr media, told Newsweek: "It's vitally important for Harry and Meghan to deliver here, not just due to the eye-watering contracts that they managed to negotiate, but also as a signal to other potential companies that they can be relied upon to execute on their promises, offer value for money and bring return on investment.

"If they fail on any of these elements, then their earning power, reputations and opportunities from Big Tech will be reduced."

It does appear a weekly Archewell Audio podcast will come in 2023 after Spotify partner Gimlet Projects advertised last month for a team of three producers to work on the show.

The three are to be hired on short-term six-month contracts, suggesting fans of the couple may not have to wait too much longer.

Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Newsweek: "They've been facing pressure to deliver on the Spotify deal. The move by Spotify is likely to bolster what Meghan and Harry's team has been able to do and assist them in execution given the significant shortage of quality content to date.

"I think that there is a clock ticking and I would imagine that you'll see content come out that will likely be far more inspired by Spotify stewards to assist Meghan and Harry in meeting their obligations."

Since stepping down as working royals, the couple have launched themselves into a series of projects, from one-off appearances on podcasts or online discussions, to work with specific charities.

Meghan has also been involved in political campaigning, taking up the cause of paid family leave in the Build Back Better Act.

The couple took parental leave themselves when Meghan gave birth to their daughter Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor in June 2021. Their son Archie will be 3 years old in May.

Meghan also published a children's book, The Bench, in 2001 but there is little sign that she intends to become a regular children's author.

A diverse series of one-off projects remains broadly in line with the approach to working life taken in the corridors of Kensington Palace—though some of the couple's ventures deal with subjects considered too political for full-time royals. Those one-off projects are a world away from the potential long-term careers represented by the couple's Netflix and Spotify deals, however.

The Spotify situation has been further complicated by Harry and Meghan's announcement that they had expressed concerns to the company over Joe Rogan and COVID-19 misinformation as far back as April 2021.

A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement released to Newsweek: "We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis.

"We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does."

At the end of January, Spotify published new content rules designed to tackle vaccine misinformation.

PR expert Burr told Newsweek he would be "very surprised" if Meghan and Harry's "contracts did not have deadlines in place and I am sure that Netflix and Spotify are now ramping up the urgency to get quality content out the door.

"They will probably be getting the very best teams to work with the Sussexes to expedite the delivery of the promised content. Make no mistake, the world's media are all waiting for the next announcement and every week that passes, only increases the pressure on all parties."

He added: "If they fail with these two, then where do they go next? Even if they sign a deal with the likes of Amazon or Apple, the Sussex brand would have been maligned by the failures at Netflix and Spotify. They must get this right."

Prince Harry's first Netflix project, Heart of Invictus, is a documentary about the Invictus Games, his sporting event for wounded service personnel. The 2020 games had to be postponed because of COVID and are now due to be held in April this year.

It is not yet clear when Meghan's animated series Pearl will be released, but she has partnered with filmmaker David Furnish, husband of Elton John and former friend of Princess Diana.

The family show is about famous women from history, so all eyes will on whether Harry's mother makes an appearance.

Harry and Meghan Visit Belfast
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 23, 2018. They are under pressure to produce content for their Netflix and Spotify deals, PR experts have said. Niall Carson - Pool/Getty Images