In the latest humiliation for the Prince and Princess of Woke, Spotify has pulled the plug on Meghan and Harry’s Archetypes podcast. No wonder, says Alexander Larman in the Spectator: it was dull, repetitive and, perhaps worst of all for Spotify, scarce at just 12 episodes. Larman writes:
In that brief, halcyon period for Harry and Meghan shortly after their quasi-abdication, when everything they did seemed to turn to gold, they signed a $20 million (£15.6 million) deal with the streaming company. And for what? A dozen episodes of a mediocre podcast series, conducted by a host more interested in talking about herself than in engaging with her guests.
It was not wildly surprising, then, that Spotify has decided to pull the plug. The company is hardly known for handing out millions of dollars to already wealthy people for little return on their investment.
Recently, it talked darkly about a ‘strategic realignment’ in its podcasting department. It has since fired 200 people in a suitably strategic fashion, presumably in an attempt to make up some of the shortfall that that pesky $20 million paycheque must have cost it.
It has been suggested, that ‘going forward’, Spotify will not be seeking to sign up big names to highly paid exclusive deals: once bitten, twice shy. Yet one of its reasons for not commissioning a second series of the Sussexes’ podcast was simple: according to one anonymous insider, presumably delighted to be getting the dirt off their chest, Harry and Meghan simply hadn’t produced enough worthwhile content to justify their vast expense.
It did not help that their podcast was never very good. Archetypes, as it was known – the name an irritatingly cutesy/coy pun on the Sussexes’ organisation Archewell, as well as their eldest child Archie – consisted of Meghan interviewing a series of guests about self-consciously worthy topics.
Episodes bore titles like ‘The Audacity of the Activist’, ‘Upending the Angry Black Woman Myth’ and ‘Breaking Down The Bimbo’. The guests – exclusively female until the final episode, when Judd Apatow, Trevor Noah and Andy Cohen appeared to discuss male attitudes towards female archetypes – consisted of the likes of Paris Hilton, Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell and the actress Jameela Jamil, a woman whose thespian qualities seem inversely proportional to her activism on social media.
Every episode had a similar format. Meghan would suggest that something was bad, her guests would all agree, and go on to say how awful the social, patriarchal construct was that had allowed them all to rise to fame and fortune. There were no dissenting voices allowed, no hint of debate; instead, the podcast swiftly became an exercise in privileged navel-gazing. Despite the novelty value engendered by the Sussexes’ involvement – and in truth Harry barely featured, being a man – it was never remotely required listening, and so few will mourn its cessation.
They haven’t taken the hint though. A representative of Meghan said: “The team behind Archetypes remain proud of the podcast they created at Spotify. Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform.”
But the rest of us hope this is just the latest sign of the Ginge and Whinge bubble bursting. As the Mail points out, now they only have Netflix left – and rumours are that it’s not happy either.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Bill Simmons, Head of Podcast Innovation and Monetisation at Spotify, condemned the pair in an episode of his own podcast on Friday. “The f***ing grifters. That’s the podcast we should have launched with them,” he said. “I’ve 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.” The Mail has more.