Hello, and thank you for reading! If you’re new here, welcome. I’m a policy advisor and political strategist who spent most of my childhood reading about the royal family instead of learning how to talk to boys or French braid my hair. I have a close to-encyclopedic knowledge of British royal family gossip and scandals and I write about the latest royal news from the lens of a Millennial political strategist. Also I still can’t French braid my hair. Now you’re up to speed.
Today, the Sussexes officially announced their Spotify podcast deal with a press release and a two-minute audio clip on the music player.
The press release doesn’t give us many details, but we do know that the deal was for multiple years, that Harry and Meghan got paid a lot of money for it (tens of millions of dollars, at least), that they will host some of the programs themselves, and that their programs will be launched under the brand Archewell Audio. The programs will delve into fostering positivity and community.
And here’s what I looked like while I was reading the press release:
What they’re doing is fine. It’s a sensible work shirt on sale at Banana Republic. It’s predictable. It’s bland. They’re not the first famous people to do this, and they won’t be the last. They’re going the Obama route to make their money, and that method is tried and true.
Here’s what this will entail for you and me:
- Harry and Meghan will have a podcast that gives us absolutely no insight into their personal lives.
- Each podcast hosted by Meghan and Harry will have an interview with a “global thought leader” (ick) about a passion project. Think the environment, bullying, community, tech, online positivity.
- The guests will likely be a combination of their famous friends (Oprah, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams/Alexis Ohanian, George and/or Amal Clooney, etc.), people representing charities that they like (think Baby2Baby, food banks, education charities, etc.), and other thought leaders (think Brene Brown, Amy Cuddy, basically anyone who’s done a TED talk).
- When the famous friends come on the podcast, they will discuss their charity work or passion project, and ONLY the charity work or their passion project.
- Some of the guests on the podcast won’t be vetted thoroughly enough and it will come out that they have committed some highly cancelable sin (anti-LGBTQ tweets, donating to a Trump PAC) and it will be a massive negative story for the couple for a week or two.
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
They basically want to brand themselves as Oprah mixed with Michelle Obama mixed with Ellen before everyone cancelled her.
Here are my thoughts on it:
It’s a fine line to walk when you have privacy lawsuits on both sides of the pond
I can 100% believe that any of the people/organizations being sued by Harry and Meghan for breach of privacy related to tabloid stories and pap photos will be picking through H&M’s podcast episodes with a fine tooth comb. Depending on what small personal details they discuss during podcast episodes, those instances could be submitted as proof that Harry and Meghan want to be private citizens when it suits them and be huge global superstars who share details of their lives when it suits them. It will be argued that Harry and Meghan are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Not clear if this legal manoeuvre would work, but it will certainly be tried.
People only want to hear so much about charity work
Here’s the thing about wanting to make the world a better place. If you’re going to start a foundation and TV production company and podcast production company on all of the amazing philanthropy and moral work you want to do, that’s fine. But people are going to get really tired of it really quickly if there’s no gossip or bite or personality to it. Think about it.
How many people will tune in to watch every interview on spirituality or meditation on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday?
Now compare that with how many people wanted to see John Travolta stick his head out of a fake plane while Oprah tells the audience they’re going to Australia during the last season of her talk show.
That’s why The Oprah Winfrey Show lasted for 25 years – Oprah knew that she had to walk a fine balance of fun shows with the important shows. For every sober discussion of poverty or abuse, there was a makeover special to balance it out. If you go too far to either end, you’re a parody.
It’s the exact same with working members of the royal family. For every unveiling of a philanthropic endeavour, there’s a cute Christmas card or a red carpet at the BAFTAs. Moral fatigue is real, and the BRF knows it.
No matter how much people say they’ll listen to anything that Meghan and Harry put out, if it’s all going to be finger wagging, they’re going to lose interest very quickly. I literally pay money to own a website dedicated to talking about the royals, and I know I won’t be listening on the regular.
What do you think? Will you be listening? Will you be a diehard or an only sometimes consumer of Sussex content? Do you think there will be some fun thrown in, or will it all be finger wagging and virtue signalling? Go to my Contact page to send me your thoughts!
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