They launched their £18million podcast deal a year ago with a pledge to promote ‘shared values’.
But Harry and Meghan’s pet project appears to have suffered a blow, with audio giant Spotify reportedly taking production into its own hands.
After the deal resulted in only one show being streamed, it is advertising for in-house staff to cover ‘every step’ of the process.
Spotify announced the partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Audio in December 2020 as they were ‘citizens of the world’ who wanted to ‘elevate underrepresented voices’.
But aside from a 33-minute ‘holiday special’ that month featuring friends such as Sir Elton John and James Corden – and the intensely private couple’s son, Archie, speaking his first public words – there has been a deafening silence.
The latest move follows Harry and Meghan adding two more ‘entertainment’ companies to their growing business empire in Delaware.
The pair, who stepped back from royal duty last year, are setting up a complex network of companies all based in the opaque tax haven state.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal with Netflix
Aside from a 33-minute ‘holiday special’ featuring friends such as Sir Elton John (pictured above, in New Orleans on January 19) – and the intensely private couple’s son, Archie, speaking his first public words – there has been a deafening silence
James Corden, who also appeared in the couple’s ‘holiday special’, pictured on The Late Late Show on January 18
Spotify had said it expected the first ‘complete series’ from Archewell Audio in 2021, but has since given no further updates.
In July, Archewell hired an experienced podcast producer, Rebecca Sananes, and confirmed it was ‘looking forward to sharing more content later in 2021’.
Now Spotify is hiring producers through its podcast arm, Gimlet, to work with Archewell Audio.
The jobs are being offered to applicants on six-month contracts based in Los Angeles.
One advert for a senior producer role reads: ‘We’re currently assembling a show team that will build and launch a new original show with Archewell featuring the voices of high-profile women.
‘The ideal candidate has experience working with high-profile talent, and an interest in the intersection of social activism and popular culture.’
Prince Harry and Meghan’s logo for Archewell Audio, their new production company, which was launched in December 2020
Taking care of the Sussexes’ business
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a high-powered team of agents, lawyers and publicists that spin up companies, hash out multi-million-dollar deals and try to cultivate their image in the public eye.
Meghan’s business manager Andrew Meyer is known among Hollywood’s elite as a top money manager, whose clients have included Ellen Pompeo, Anna Kendrick, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn and Alexander Skarsgard.
Andrew Meyer (second right) and Richard Genow (right) posed with Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff and fellow lawyer Patricia Wheeler in 2019
The LA-raised partner at Freemark Financial was among the 600 guests at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Meyer works hand in glove with Meghan’s long-time lawyer Rick Genow, who has also repped Sir Ben Kingsley and Greg Kinnear, and is named in company documents for all of the former royals’ new firms.
Genow is a partner at Beverly Hills law firm Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smekinson & Christopher, LLP.
He told the Hollywood Reporter last year that he has known Meyer professionally and as a friend for over 15 years, adding that Meyer ‘doesn’t miss a detail and truly cares about each and every client.’
Heading up the couple’s public relations is former Pinterest communications chief Christine Schirmer. The Duke and Duchess scooped up Schirmer two months after she left her Pinterest role in July 2020.
Schirmer is one of Harry and Meghan’s most senior aides, overseeing PR firm Sunshine Sachs’s representation of the Sussexes as well as their UK publicist James Holt.
Holt handled the couple’s press relations in the UK, but was also promoted last year to Executive Director of the Archewell Foundation.
Meghan is said to have dropped her long-time agent Nick Collins last year. Though relieved from his former role, he reportedly still consults for the Duchess.
In the meantime, Harry has guest-starred on numerous other podcasts and made a series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey, with whom he and Meghan gave their shocking TV interview last March. Meghan has undertaken several media appearances.
She and Harry are also working on documentaries and a cartoon series as part of another multimillion deal, with Netflix.
Gimlet Projects develops and launches podcasts for Spotify, often involving ‘high-profile collaborators’.
It says the new senior producer will be involved with ‘every step of the show including development, research and producing episodes’.
Two other producing jobs are linked to the advert, but do not mention Archewell.
Meanwhile, state filings revealed last week that Meghan’s longtime lawyer and business manager have incorporated 11 companies and a trust for the couple since April 2020, including a firm apparently set up for Harry’s memoir book deal.
And according to The Telegraph, two further companies were also registered on the same date, including Cloverdale Inc – which bears the same name as the street that the Duchess lived on with her mother in Los Angeles as a child.
It is currently unknown what the meaning is behind the name of the second company, Riversoul.
Both companies are set up explicitly in the ‘entertainment’ space, meaning the couple now have seven separate firms in the industry.
The firms are all headquartered in the Beverly Hills offices of attorney Richard Genow, who has worked with the Duchess for years.
Also appearing on company filings for the firms is her business manager Andrew Meyer, a well-connected money guru whose clients have included Jon Chu, Anna Kendrick, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Ellen Pompeo.
Meghan went to live with her mother in a top-floor apartment on S. Cloverdale Ave, Mid-Wilshire, after her parents got a divorce in 1983.
It was once the garage and loft space for the main front property.
Other companies inked by Meyer and Genow are two publishing firms.
The first, Peca Publishing LLC, was set up in September 2020 and used by Meghan to hold the rights for her children’s book The Bench.
The same day a second company was incorporated, Orinoco Publishing LLC – though it didn’t register its status in California until December 22 last year.
It is unclear what the couple will use Orinoco for, though it is likely it was set up to hold the rights for Harry’s blockbuster book deal with Penguin Random House for his memoir, due for publication later this year.
One of the Duke and Duchess’ new businesses is Cloverdale Inc – which bears the same name as the street that the Duchess lived on with her mother in Los Angeles as a child (pictured her childhood home on South Cloverdale Avenue)
The companies are in the tax haven of Delaware, despite the couple living and doing business in California. Their Montecito mansion is pictured
Some of the Sussexes’ Delaware firms were set up to hold the trademarks for their charity Archewell and its associated companies.
In a complicated structure, Harry and Meghan set up Cobblestone Lane LLC as the holder of the Archewell logo, but lodged another trademark filing for a second logo, with just the letters ‘AW’ on top of each other, under a different Delaware firm, IPHW LLC.
Cobblestone Lane LLC was incorporated in Delaware in February 2020 and five days later was used as the applicant to file for the Archewell trademark.
Companies that have already drawn international attention over the Sussexes’ high-profile entertainment deals with Netflix and Spotify include Archewell Audio LLC and Archewell Productions LLC.