$20 million multiyear deal resulted in only a single, 12-episode podcast series
Podcaster and Spotify Technology SA executive Bill Simmons thinks Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are “grifters,” after the royal couple ended their relationship with the streaming platform following an unproductive production deal.
Last Thursday, the couple and Spotify SPOT, +5.13% announced their multiyear podcast deal had ended, apparently prematurely. The production deal, inked in 2020 and reportedly worth about $20 million, resulted in only a single, 12-episode podcast series. The deal had been intended to be a key piece of Spotify’s push into the podcasting arena.
After the deal ended, Simmons — who founded The Ringer, which Spotify bought in 2020 for around $200 million, and who currently serves as Spotify’s head of podcast innovation and monetization — ripped the royal couple.
“I wish I had been involved in the ‘Meghan and Harry leave Spotify’ negotiation,” he said on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Friday. “‘The F—ing Grifters.’ That’s the podcast we shoulda launched with them. I gotta 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. F–k them. The grifters.”
Spotify’s podcast push has not gone as well as hoped. Its Gimlet podcasting network has been gutted, and earlier in June, Spotify laid off about 200 people in its podcast division as it makes a “strategic realignment.”
Simmons, known for his sports and pop-culture hot takes, had previously been vocal about his displeasure with Prince Harry. “Shoot this guy to the sun, I’m so tired of this guy,” he said on a January podcast.
“What does he do?” Simmons continued. “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 … You live in f**king Montecito and you just like, you sell 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.”