Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, are kicking off their multi-year audio partnership with Spotify with a holiday special featuring a royal court’s worth of A-list guests.
The stand-alone special (listen below) promises “a collection of personal anecdotes and inspirational stories from a variety guests around the world … plus a surprise or two,” according to a press release. Billed guests include Stacey Abrams, Christina Adane, José Andrés, Brené Brown, Rachel Cargle, Deepak Chopra, James Corden, Matt Haig, Sir Elton John, Hussain Manawer, Naomi Osaka, Tyler Perry, and George the Poet.
Following the pattern set by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground, the royal couple’s exclusive podcast partnership with Spotify became known earlier this month. It followed the announcement of a Netflix deal earlier in the year. Archwell Audio is their production banner and will team with Spotify-owned Gimlet Media to produce the special.
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Spotify has made a series of high-profile talent deals and business acquisitions, landing top podcast hosts like Joe Rogan as well as companies like Parcast and Megaphone as it pushes deeper into the burgeoning sector. With advertising revenue set to exceed $1 billion a year and growing quickly, podcasting has attracted a number of well-funded startups in addition to tech giants like Amazon.
“We thought, what if we can bring together some people that inspire us – people that we admire… and get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020,” the Duchess says in setting up the special.
Bidding good riddance to 2020, Prince Harry adds, “As we all know, it’s been a YEAR. And we really want to honor the compassion and kindness that has helped so many people get through it.”
The Duke and Duchess also single out a song that they say offers inspiration for listeners heading into 2021. “’This Little Light of Mine’ played at the very end of our wedding… while we were walking down the steps of the church,” Markle says. “It was the music that we wanted playing when we started our lives together. Because as we all know, ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that…’” Replies Prince Harry, “The message of this song is one we hold so dearly. It’s about using the power we each have within us to make this world a better place.”
Listen to the full special here: