From Spotify to the “irrelevant” Lemonada. Who is Meghan Markle’s new podcast partner?

Meghan Markle podcast Lemonada

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed a $20 million Spotify podcasting deal in 2020, but it came to acrimonious end midway through 2023.

In three years, Archewell Audio – the podcasting company operated by the controversial Duke and Duchess of Sussex – produced just a single show for Spotify called Archetypes. The show published 12 episodes between August and November 2022.

Understandably, when the deal came to an end, it was revealed Spotify executives were frustrated with the pace of content production from Archwell. Not long after, Bill Simmons, a Spotify executive famously labelled the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “f**king grifters“.

Now, it’s over to Lemonada Media.

It been revealed the relatively unknown podcasting network has partnered with Harry and Meghan to re-boot the exiled royal’s podcasting pursuits.

The new deal will see Lemonada gain the rights to distribute the first season of Archetypes. The show was originally a Spotify exclusive.

Lemonada will be hoping that moving it to the full spectrum of podcasting platforms will see a jump in popularity and advertising dollars.

Lemonada will also collaborate with the Sussexes and Archwell Audio to launch a new show said to be hosted by Meghan Markle.

“I’m proud to now be able to share that I am joining the brilliant team at Lemonada to continue my love of podcasting,” said Markle in a statement distributed by Lemonada.

“Our plan to re-release Archetypes so that more people can now have access to it, as well as launching a dynamic new podcast are well in the works.

“I’m so eager to be able to share it soon, and am overjoyed to be joining the Lemonada family.”

The Meghan Markle podcast fall from grace?

The move to Lemonada has been scrutinised by royal observers and entertainment industry commentators.

“Meghan is now going to Lemonada, instead of Spotify. You go from the biggest, to something irrelevant… You don’t make more money, their finances are in disaster and their reputations are in disaster,” said royal family biographer, Lady Colin Campbell on Sunday.

American entertainment journalist and podcaster, Kinsey Schofield, said Meghan Markle would be a “big fish in a small pond” at Lemonada.

“It’s a huge fall from grace, it’s not Spotify, it’s not Audible, it’s not iHearRadio, it’s not Audacity. It’s not one of these major companies you would expect to partner with the Sussexes after their huge launch after ‘Megxit’ with the likes of Netflix and Spotify.

“It’s just kind of like, who? what?”

Who is Lemonada Media?

“Making life suck less, one podcast at a time” is the Lemonada mission statement.

The Minneapolis-based network was founded in 2019 by Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs.

Cordova Kramer is a former executive producer at progressive American political media company, Crooked Media. Wittels Wachs, a former performing arts teacher.

The founders raised $8 million in Series A Funding in 2022, valuing the company at around $30 million.

Investors included Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Greycroft Partners, Intuition Capital Limited, Madison Wells Media, Owl Capital, and Spring Point Partners.

Meghan Markle podcast
Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs (Image: https://lemonadamedia.com)

Currently the network boasts a catalogue of 51 shows.

Two podcasters currently stand out as the networks biggest drawcards for advertising dollars – Seinfield star Julia Louis-Dreyfus who hosts the Wiser Than Me podcast, and popular stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman who hosts The Sarah Silverman Podcast.

On signing up the Sussexes, Jessica Cordova Kramer said the Lemonada team is “beyond honored that Meghan has trusted us to help democratize access to Archetypes”.

She added, “Meghan’s talent as host, creator and conversationalist is unparalleled and we are thrilled to co-create a new series with her that fosters her approach to creating art that matters.”

The Sussexes leap of faith in a relative minnow comes off the back of a reported $250 million dollar partnership signed between Joe Rogan and Spotify.

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