Since leaving the Royal Family in 2020, Harry & Meghan have had several projects to keep them busy. The Duke and Duchess signed major contracts with both Netflix and Spotify and Harry, of course, landed his big book deal.
Not only would those contracts help Harry and Meghan become the center of attention once more, but the couple also earned millions from it. While Harry was busy with his book, Spare, Meghan started her podcast on Spotify, which initially became a huge success. However, such luck has turned, with Meghan and the industry giant mutually agreeing to cancel her podcast and the Spotify deal in its entirety.
With the breakdown of the deal, Harry and Meghan will most likely focus on making money elsewhere. According to one royal expert, this could lead to the couple publishing a new book. One similar to Spare, only on “steroids.”
Despite what remains an ongoing rift with the Royal Family, everyday life goes on for Harry and Meghan. The Duke attended his father’s coronation in early May, but despite an invitation to stay for a while, Harry headed straight back to the US to celebrate his son Prince Archie’s birthday.
Just weeks later, it was time for another birthday celebration as Harry and Meghan’s daughter, Princess Lilibet, turned two.
Harry & Meghan celebrates Lilibet’s birthday
Harry and Meghan have proven themselves well-versed in making the most out of occasions to celebrate. With Lilibet turning two, she most likely had a full day of surprises, including lavish gifts and plenty of love.
People Magazine said 20 to 30 guests attended Lilibet’s birthday bash. Among those were Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who has visited her grandchildren frequently, and Lilibet’s godfather, Tyler Perry. Moreover, Princess Diana’s two older sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes. and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, were there to celebrate the young princess’s big day.
After the tragic passing of Princess Diana in 1997, Harry and William were given plenty of support from their family members, though Harry once revealed he didn’t even get a hug from his father after being told the heartbreaking news.
At the birthday party, a gospel choir was believed to have performed several songs, including Oh Happy Day and This Little Light of Mine. The latter tune was also played at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
An insider told the Daily Mail that “attendees were treated to an afternoon of food and dancing — with Archie enjoying a dance with his little sister.”
Princess Beatrice is reportedly the only senior royal to have visited Harry and Meghan in the US thus far. As stated, King Charles could not be there for Lilibet’s big day, though reports suggested he wanted to celebrate his granddaughter’s birthday in style.
Of course, Harry and Meghan have the time and money to more than adequately splash out on birthday bashes for themselves and their children.
How much money does Harry & Meghan have?
Put simply, they’ve netted millions of dollars through their respective deals.
In September 2020, the couple reportedly secured a five-year $100 million production deal with Netflix.
Then there’s the four-book deal with their publisher – said to include an eye-watering $20 million advance and global royalties for Harry’s book – which might be worth in excess of $120 million. Moreover, Meghan and Harry pocketed an additional $20 million for their Spotify deal. According to an industry expert speaking to Newsweek, the agreement itself might be worth $35 million.
Meanwhile, Harry and William shared the reported $14 million fortune their mother, Princess Diana, left them. Meghan Markle’s net worth is said to be somewhere around $60 million.
Harry and Meghan’s celebrity lifestyle in Montecito, which includes living in a lavish $14 million mansion, is undoubtedly what many dreams of. The Duke and Duchess have been through a lot in recent years, but finally appear to have been able to settle into their new life.
Their Netflix series was a huge success, and Harry’s book, Spare, as mentioned, sold millions of copies in just a few days. Meanwhile, Meghan embarked on her own Spotify podcast, which seemed hugely promising in its early days.
Now though, the couple has been hit with a huge setback, both career-wise and economically.
On Thursday, the media group run by Harry and Meghan, Archewell Audio, and streaming giant Spotify announced that they had mutually agreed to end their multi-million dollar contract.
Harry & Meghan’s big setback – Spotify contract canceled
The $20 million contract saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex produce just one series – Meghan’s podcast Archetypes – since their 2020 agreement.
Meghan’s podcast topped charts for weeks with her discussions with several influential women. Guests included stars such as Mindy Kaling, Mariah Carey, Trevor Noah, Serena Williams, and Paris Hilton. Despite the success, though, the two parties decided not to move forward.
“Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series that we made together,” the official statement read.
According to an unnamed Variety source, Spotify was said to have been expecting more content from Archewell Studios.
Another source told the American news outlet that Harry and Meghan no longer want to distribute exclusively to Spotify. Instead, they have found other homes for their audio projects.
In their description, Archewell Audio’s company says its mission is “producing programming that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world,” as well as “spotlights diverse perspectives and voices. Moreover, they want to build “community through shared experience, narratives, and values.”
At the time of writing, no one knows how much money Harry and Meghan will get from the Spotify deal now that it’s been. However, the Wall Street Journal reported that a source close to Spotify had explained that Harry and Meghan didn’t meet the productivity benchmark required to receive all of the money agreed on from the beginning.
In total, Meghan released only 12 episodes of her podcast.
The Sussexes called “Grifters” by Spotify’s boss
It’s clear that one person in particular at Spotify is less than happy with how the couple has handled the situation. Bill Simmons, the company’s head of podcast innovation and monetization, is actively speaking out against them.
Simmons founded the Ringer podcast network, and in 2020 he sold his company to Spotify for around $200 million. According to The Guardian, he was handed a leadership role at the streaming company in the deal.
Speaking on his podcast, Simmons called the Sussexes “grifters.”
“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,” Simmons said on the Bill Simmons podcast.
“I have got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories … Fuck them. The grifters.”
This is not the first time Simmons has been vocal in criticizing Harry and Meghan. In January 2022, he shared that he was annoyed about having to “share Spotify” with Harry.
“You live in fucking Montecito, and you just sell documentaries and podcasts. Nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family, and you just complain about them,” Simmons said at the time.
Naturally, Harry and Meghan have plenty of irons yet in the fire, despite being dumped by Spotify. Though they will most likely will lose out on some or all of the promised cash, they’ve got several other big projects on the go.
Yet that, according to Royal editor Angela Levin, doesn’t matter. Speaking to The Sun, the royal expert claims that the Sussex’s future projects will be a “disaster,” stating that Harry and Meghan’s stock isn’t “as high as it once was.”
“Losing Spotify is a huge blow”
The fact that the Spotify deal was canceled means their empire is “crumbling,” she added.
“People are fed up with them now,” Levin said.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, meanwhile, declared the end of their Spotify deal a “shocking failure.”
“The idea was that several series would be produced. Since only one was, there’s no doubt the contract could be considered a failure. Clearly, this relationship hasn’t been as mutually beneficial,” he said.
“Losing Spotify is a huge blow. How hard we’ll have to wait and see,” Fitzwilliams added. “The collapse of the Spotify deal puts under the microscope the three deals they’ve got – Netflix and Random House. They’ve done remarkably little for Netflix.”
As reported by The Sun, Harry and Meghan have had an interest in making more “fun” film projects, including romcoms for Netflix. According to the Daily Telegraph, that type of content would have a “heavy focus on fictional scripted contact.”
However, Levin says it’s a “disastrous” idea.
“There was a statement from them that they were no longer going to talk about the Royal Family and now want to stay behind the camera, but that’s a disaster,” she said. No one’s interested in the producer or editor; they want the star. If they put themselves behind the camera, there’ll be less interest.”
“I also don’t think Meghan knows how to do that so she’ll need help, and people find her difficult to work for,” the royal expert added.
Harry & Meghan warning: Might provide “Spare on steroids”
It goes without saying that Harry and Meghan have made enemies since beginning their new life in the US, not least among the British Royal Family. The news that the Sussexes have now lost their Spotify deal – and the money that comes with it – might therefore be received well by some.
According to The Telegraph editor Camilla Tominey, though, the whole break-down in harmony between the Sussexes and Spotify could pose a further threat to the monarchy.
In her royal piece, Tominey argued: “The Palace powers-that-be should perhaps be mindful that the more the Sussexes’ earning power recedes, the more dangerous they could become.
“While the Duke may have said all he wants to in his autobiography Spare and accompanying interviews (although he has claimed he has enough material for a second book), the Duchess is clearly still brimming with ‘content’ that is seemingly bursting to come out.”
Tominey continued: “And while a great deal of it can easily be dismissed as word salad, she’s never been afraid of adding a splash of vinegar dressing when discussing her royal relatives.”
“So the Palace’s supporters are celebrating a pyrrhic victory if they think the Sussexes’ de-Spotification is a good thing,” she concluded.
“The more desperate the duo is to land new deals, the more demanding their paymasters may be about the type of content they provide. Think Spare on steroids.”
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