Spotify could want ‘greater control’ over Meghan’s podcast after having ‘fingers burned’

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Meghan signed a deal with Spotify in December 2020 and has since announced a new podcast series called Archetypes. But speaking to about the deal, media lawyer Ian Penman claimed that Spotify may have included “contingent provisions” which would allow them to “terminate the contract” if anything goes wrong.

He said that the streaming giant had its “fingers burnt” by the controversy surrounding podcast host Joe Rogan, who faced criticism for giving a platform to anti-vax views.

This, Mr Penman said, will mean Spotify may want “more editorial control” over Meghan’s podcast and would not want her to say anything that could “cause chaos” and “offend” the platform’s users and clients.

He also claimed that the platform is likely to have retained the ability to “pull out of the deal” if it does not bring in enough listeners.

The media lawyer – who specialises in music streaming contracts – told “It becomes interesting because there may be contingent provisions which allow [Spotify] to pull out of the deal under certain circumstances – so, she may put something in the podcast.

“For example, who has editorial control? Does she just say what she wants?

“Does she say what she wants and then they edit it themselves and decide whether they’re happy?

“Don’t forget, Spotify have had massive problems with Joe Rogan’s podcast, where he had people interviewed that made comments about the effectiveness of vaccines.

“So they might have had their fingers a bit burnt by that, which I suspect they have, so they’ll probably want a bit more editorial control over these podcasts to make sure nothing goes out which offends their database, let alone their user base.

“Spotify probably had their fingers a bit burnt by that, and want a bit more editorial control.

“They probably don’t want [Meghan] saying anything she wants that could offend a number of their clients and users.

“They’re probably thinking let’s not broadcast something which would cause chaos because that affects the share price, which is bad.”

Mr Penman said that Spotify may also be able to terminate Meghan’s contract if “people are not really interested in what she has to say”.

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He said: “There will probably be other contingent provisions which allow them to pull out of the deal.

“For example, how many listeners each podcast gets.

“There may be a provision, which says, unless X people listen, we have the option to terminate the contract.

“I would be very surprised if they don’t have some way out if people are not really interested in what she has to say and not enough people tune in.”

Mr Penman added: “You’ll probably find in the contract there will be some get out of jail clause for them to say okay this isn’t working as we wanted, therefore we’re pulling out we’re not carrying on with it.”

Archetypes, set to air this summer, aims to investigate “labels that try to hold women back”.

In the trailer for the podcast, the Duchess of Sussex said the audio programme will “dissect, explore and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.”

She explained: “I’ll have conversations with women who know all too well how these typecasts shape our narratives.

“And I’ll talk to historians to understand how we even got here in the first place.”

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