Maintaining a high income as non-working royals could prove challenging for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The couple struck gold with their highly-viewed Netflix docuseries “Harry & Meghan” and Harry’s bestselling memoir “Spare,” but last week their multimillion-dollar Spotify partnership was ended prematurely.

Prince Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’ has record-breaking sales

Harry and Meghan voluntarily parted ways with their royal duties in 2020 and relocated to Montecito, California. Without financial support from the royal family, the couple was left to their own resources.

The former royal couple’s Netflix deal was reportedly worth $100 million, per Elle, and Harry was paid $20 million for his memoir, publishers revealed, according to the New York Post.

Their multiyear Spotify deal — which was severed abruptly — was worth $25 million, per The Cut. It has not been reported how much of the alleged $25 million Harry and Meghan will receive.

United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer claimed he wasn’t surprised the royal couple’s Spotify deal fizzled out.

“Turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent,” Zimmer told Semafor. “And, you know, just because you’re famous doesn’t make you great at something.”

In wake of the couple’s terminated partnership with Spotify, rejection from Taylor Swift and pressure to perform from Netflix, Meghan might be prepared to carve out a new path — or return to an old one.

Taylor Swift declined invite to appear on ‘Archetypes’

“Archetypes” attracted a wide variety of celebrity guests. Tennis legend Serena Williams shared challenges associated with being labeled an “ambitious” woman and American socialite Paris Hilton revealed how she played into the “dumb blonde” trope.

Meghan hoped to add Taylor Swift to her guest list of female superstars. She wrote a personal letter to Swift asking her to come on the Spotify podcast. Swift turned down the invitation through a representative, reports the Wall Street Journal. A reason for Swift’s rejection has not been revealed.

Why did Spotify cancel ‘Archetypes’?

Last week, Spotify and the production company of Prince Harry and Meghan — Archewell Audio — announced that they were severing a multiyear podcasting deal which included the creation of Meghan’s “Archetypes” podcast last year.

“Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together,” Spotify said in an emailed statement Friday, per The Washington Post.

Further details regarding the split were not provided.

Archewell Audio announced its exclusive, multiyear contract with Spotify in December 2020. The partnership called for Harry and Meghan to host and produce “podcasts that build community through shared experiences and values.”

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may live in California, but the power of their voices rests in their status as citizens of the world,” Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff said in the 2020 announcement. “We are proud to partner with the Duke and Duchess and look forward to listeners hearing directly from them and the other creators that they will be elevating via our global platform.”

Harry and Meghan were reportedly paid $25 million to create numerous podcasts for Spotify. The couple launched their podcasting career with a 2020 holiday special and their first full podcast series was expected in 2021, Spotify said at the time.

The couple’s first podcast series — “Archetypes,” which landed on Spotify in August 2022 — is described as “a podcast where we investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.” The 12-episode Spotify original features Meghan interviewing public figures such as Serena Williams, Trevor Noah, Paris Hilton and Mariah Carey.

Following its 2022 launch, “Archetypes” snagged the top spot on Spotify’s podcast charts for just over two weeks, per Variety. But within a few months, listenership dwindled and the podcast slipped down the charts, according to Newsweek.

A representative for WME, the talent agency that represents Meghan, told The Wall Street Journal: “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.”

Spotify executive called Harry and Meghan ‘grifters’

Spotify’s head of podcast innovation and monetization labeled Harry and Meghan as “grifters” after the couple’s deal with the streaming giant came to an end after making just 12 “Archetypes” episodes, reports The Guardian.

Bill Simmons — an American podcaster, Ringer network founder and Spotify executive — criticized the pair during his own podcast following the news that Spotify had severed its partnership with the couple, calling them “the grifters.”

“I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation,” Simmons said during his podcast on Friday, per The Guardian. “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.”

Simmons previously criticized Harry on his podcast in January 2023 when he said he was “so embarrassed” to share Spotify with him, per CNN.

“What does he do? It’s one of those things where it’s like, what’s your talent? Why are we listening to you? So you were born in a royal family and then you left,” Simmons said, adding that Harry makes “documentaries and podcasts and nobody cares what you have to say about anything unless you talk about the royal family and you just complain about them.”

TV personality Stephen A. Smith echoed Simmons’ comments about Harry and Meghan during the “Stephen A. Smith Show.”

“If Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex ain’t complaining about the royal family, I don’t know if anybody cares what they have to say,” Smith said during the show.

“I’m not trying to dog (Meghan Markle) like she doesn’t have any talent or anything like that ... I love ‘Suits’,” Smith continued. “But what I’m saying is, you don’t really care what they have to say unless they’re insulting their family.”

Will Meghan return to acting?

Before marrying Prince Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex in 2018, Meghan confirmed that at the conclusion of the hit legal drama “Suits” she chose to retire from acting.

“I don’t see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change,” Meghan said of her decision to step away from acting, during a 2018 engagement interview with the BBC.

“It’s a new chapter, right? And also, keep in mind, I’ve been working on (‘Suits’) for seven years. We were very, very fortunate to have that sort of longevity on a series,” she explained, adding, “I’ve ticked this box, and I feel very proud of the work I’ve done there, and now it’s time to work with (Harry) as a team.”

In April, Meghan signed for representation from WME, a talent agency, reports Variety.

“We are honored to announce that WME now represents Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex in all areas. The agency will be focusing on building out her business ventures across multiple facets of the agency and its broader ecosystem, including film and television production, brand partnerships and more,” read an Instagram statement from WME in April.

The relationship between Meghan and WME signifies an interest from the duchess in returning to show business, but it is understood that acting is not Meghan’s focus.

Inside Harry and Meghan’s multiyear deal with Netflix

According to Forbes, Harry and Meghan signed a five-year, $100 million contract with Netflix in 2020 to “produce documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.”

Harry and Meghan have been involved in just one program since entering an arrangement with Netflix nearly three years ago. Their Netflix endeavor — the six-part documentary series “Harry & Meghan” — which landed on the streaming platform in December 2022, gives viewers an in-depth look at the royal couple’s personal life.

The series received harsh reviews from critics but rose to one of Netflix’s most-viewed documentaries, even ranking No. 1 in the U.K., as reported by the Deseret News.

But the couple’s multi-million dollar deal with the streaming giant might be on the line. They have earned just have of the money Netflix offered and will need to produce interesting content to receive the rest of their paycheck.

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“Netflix was pleased to sign Harry and Meghan and is looking for some great ideas going forward,” an industry source told The Sun of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix deal.

“But the remainder of the deal relies on them producing those good ideas. The deal’s continually under review which is normal for ones of this magnitude.”

‘Harry and Meghan’ is Netflix’s highest viewed documentary. Here’s what is revealed in part one

‘Suits’ is now on Netflix

Before she became the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan made a name for herself as a star on the legal drama “Suits.”

The complete series landed on Netflix on June 17.

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