Spotify forced to defend Harry and Meghan’s multi-million pound podcast deal

A Spotify chief has claimed Harry and Meghan's reported £18m podcast deal creates a "virtuous cycle" that will help struggling musicians paid just £0.0038 per stream.

Tory MP Steve Brine told Horacio Gutierrez the pay deal “sticks in the craw of some of the artists who are driving Uber cars right now to pay the rent” on Wednesday.

But Spotify's Head of global affairs and chief legal officer defended the deal as he refused to tell MPs how much the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were being paid for Archewell Audio.

He said "they aren't doing it for free" and claimed the podcast was "box office" material which will boost listener numbers for aspiring songwriters on the streaming service.

Musicians have complained that they receive such paltry royalties from streaming services that they are struggling to make ends meet.

At the same time, Spotify has paid the Duke and Duchess a reported £18 million to produce and host podcasts “celebrating kindness and compassion”.

Mr Gutierrez did not go into detail about the Duke and Duchess’s fee but told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing: “They’re not doing it for free.”

Asked if the couple were regarded as “box office” as part of its inquiry into music streaming, he replied: “Yes. In terms of the talent that goes into podcasts, yes.”

He likened the couple’s podcast output to Game of Thrones and House of Cards on Netflix.

“Those high production shows that tend to be the tentpole that attract people into the service, and therefore benefit everyone.

“There is clear evidence that having podcast offerings on the service benefits music consumption, so on the whole there’s a virtuous cycle that occurs,” Mr Gutierrez said.

On Monday the duke, 36, and duchess, 39, who last week officially split from the Royal Family, appeared in a 20-second video plugging the podcast at a Spotify live stream event, the Mail Online reports.

In the brief appearance, Meghan said that they are "using podcasting to drive powerful conversations", before Harry added that they "inspire, challenge and educate".

"We created Archwell audio to make sure we can elevate voices that maybe aren't being heard and hear people's stories," Meghan, who was wearing a £2,645 Oscar de la Renta dress, added.

Harry finishes: "And the biggest part of this is trying to create this community of where you can share, that will encourage everybody else to then share their own vulnerabilities in that safe space."

It was unclear when the video was filmed.

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