Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Harry and Meghan agreed Spotify deal because they ‘needed serious money’, says Omid Scobie

Scobie claimed Prince Harry was under great ‘financial pressure’ from the royal family after quitting “the Firm”

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 28 November 2023 11:44 GMT
Related video: Meghan and Harry sign deal with Spotify for podcast

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed their lucrative, yet ultimately ill-fated, Spotify deal because they “needed serious money” after quitting the royal family, royal reporter Omid Scobie has claimed.

In a new interview with The Independent, Scobie, 42, said the Sussexes’ went on a deal-signing spree, including inking agreements with Spotify and Netflix, as a way to ease the tremendous “financial pressure” they were under after relocating to the United States in 2020.

He added that this pressure was reportedly exerted by the royal family in response to Prince Harry’s repeated claims that his brother, Prince William’s communications team was leaking stories about him and Meghan to a British tabloid while they were living in the UK.

“Senior aides said, ‘If you don’t stop poking into this, you’re going to face the consequences,” Scobie said. “Not long later he was cut off from all financial support, including security, which Prince Charles was funding privately. That sends someone into a spin of having to sign a whole bunch of deals.”

He added that their pricey £15m deal with the audio giant “fell apart” because of creative differences, explaining that Spotify was “looking for headling grabbing, media-stirring content” – something that Harry and Meghan were not comfortable with.

“Obviously they had money. But they needed serious money for a proper roof over their heads and security,” the author of a Endgame continued. “It was the middle of a pandemic, of course you’re going to sign the deals. But ultimately Spotify were looking for headline-grabbing, media-stirring content and that’s not the direction that the couple wanted to go in, so it fell apart.

“I’d imagine the couple knew at the start that’s what Spotify wanted from them but the money was on the table and they were in a desperate place,” he added.

The Independent has contacted a representative for the Sussexes and Kensington Palace for comment.

In 2021, Harry and Meghan’s production company Archewell signed a multi-million pound deal to create a series of scripted and unscripted programmes and movies for Netflix – months after they announced a partnership with Spotify to produce and host “programming that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world” in the form of podcasts that championed diverse voices.

In June, the Sussexes and Spotify said they were terminating the £15.6m deal and parting ways after just one season of Meghan’s podcast Archetypes.

Elsewhere in the interview, the royal reporter denied that he is “Meghan’s mouthpiece or cheerleader” – a suggestion of impartiality he is forced to address frequently.

“I wish that was true because it would have made my access much easier,” Scobie said. “I’ve always been transparent I’ve had a great relationship with their team over the years and we have friends in common.”

Scobie’s new book Endgame is a searing account of what he claims is the monarchy’s bid for modernisation and fight for survival. In it, the long-time royal correspondent highlight an alleged rift between King Charles and Prince William, the impossibility of a reconciliation between the heir and spare, Prince Harry, as well as Princess Kate’s bid to become future queen.

You can read The Independent’s review here.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in