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Spotify CEO discusses break with Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek finally broke his silence on the platform’s split with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Ek told journalist and editor Zoe Kleinman that the partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex didn’t go as initially planned. In 2020, the couple inked a multi-year deal— reportedly worth $20 million — to produce podcasts and shows for the platform.

“We thought new innovation was needed to happen here. We thought, ‘We can come in and offer a great experience that both makes consumers very happy and allows new creators new avenues,’” he said, according to multiple reports.

Of Spotify’s high-profile efforts to outshine competitors, Ek added: “The truth of the matter is some of it has worked, some of it hasn’t. We’re learning from those and we are moving on, and we wish all of the ones we didn’t renew with the best of success they can have going forward.”

Meghan and Harry’s Archewell Audio said in June it “mutually agreed” to part ways with Spotify. In a joint statement, the audio streaming giant and Archewell said, “We are proud of the series we made together.”

Under the deal, Archewell Audio released only a 30-minute holiday special in 2020 and one audio series — “Archetypes” — in August 2022.

“Archetypes,” hosted by the “Suits” star, quickly climbed up Spotify charts, but ultimately only ran for 12 episodes. Markle’s celebrity guests included Serena Williams, Paris Hilton, Margaret Cho and Issa Rae.

News of the Spotify split spread in June and gave way to a new wave of backlash toward Meghan and Harry. The Ringer founder Bill Simmons, who is the head of Spotify‘s podcast innovation and monetization, called out the couple in June.

“‘The F— Grifters.’ That’s the podcast we should have launched them,” Simmons said during an episode of his self-titled podcast. “I gotta get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try to help him with a podcast idea.”

Within the same week, Markle was accused of faking her “Archetypes” interviews. Podnews reported that the celebrity interviews were conducted by “other staffers” and that Meghan’s interview questions were edited into the final product. Former Gimlet editor and filmmaker Andrea B. Scott debunked the speculation in a since-deleted tweet.

“We never edited her asking questions into interviews that producers conducted,” Scott added.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Meghan and Harry’s podcast efforts aren’t over yet, as “conversations are ongoing for other homes for Archewell content.”

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