After nearly two years, it looks like Meghan Markle is finally launching her podcast series on the streaming platform Spotify this summer. This comes after Archwell Audio, the company she owns with her husband Prince Harry, met with Spotify about cutting down on the amount of misinformation they disseminate to their listeners. Details of the podcast have not yet been released. All we know at this point is that the show will be hosted by the Duchess herself.
The struggle to get the show to air is the result of ongoing issues with Spotify. The streaming service caught heat from doctors and celebrities alike in January for providing a platform for Joe Rogan to spread misinformation about COVID on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. Artists including India.Arie and Joni Mitchell asked that their music be pulled from the platform in protest. And nearly 300 doctors and scientists added their names to an open letter that came down on Spotify for allowing Rogan’s guests to share their alternative facts, calling the podcast host a “menace to public health.” Rogan also went viral for all of the wrong reasons when a compilation of clips of him using the n-word spread across social media. But with 11 million listeners per episode, The Joe Rogan Experience is one of Spotify’s most popular podcasts, which meant there were few consequences for his actions. Spotify pulled over 100 episodes of his show, and Rogan responded to all of the backlash with an apology and said he would strive to make his show “more balanced.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed a multi-year podcast deal with the streaming platform in 2020 to produce and host exclusive podcasts that “build community through shared experience, narratives and values.” After COVID forced most of the world into isolation, the couple was inspired to produce a podcast as a way to bring people back together. “What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” Harry and Meghan said in a statement. “With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are,” they added.
But since the deal was signed, only one podcast episode has been made available for listeners – a holiday special with celebrity guests including Tyler Perry and Stacey Abrams, as well as an adorable appearance by their son, Archie. In January, the Sussexes began pushing Spotify to make changes in order to prevent the “serious harms” that could come from spreading COVID misinformation to the public.
After ongoing discussions with Spotify, Archewell Audio says they now feel Spotify is dealing with the misinformation issue appropriately and will resume production of Markle’s podcast. Archewell is “encouraged by ongoing conversations we’ve had with Spotify” and has been working with the streaming service on “policies, practices, and strategies meant to raise creator awareness, minimize the spread of misinformation, and support transparency,” says Toya Holness, a spokesperson for Archewell Audio.