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U.K. Musicians Slam Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's $25 Million Spotify Deal, It's A 'Kick In The Teeth' For Artists

Apr. 26 2021, Updated 12:46 p.m. ET

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Musicians over the pond are furious with Spotify after the streaming giant signed an estimated $25 million deal with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to produce feel-good podcasts. 

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Rising and famed musicians including Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kate Bush, Robert Plant and Stevie Nicks are now calling on the U.K. government to reform the way musicians are paid when their music is streamed online.

Over 150 British musicians (156, to be exact) signed the open letter calling on Boris Johnson to enforce change in the streaming industry. “For too long, streaming platforms, record labels and other internet giants have exploited performers and creators without rewarding them fairly. We must put the value of music back where it belongs — in the hands of music makers,” the letter began.

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Johnson has yet to respond to the artists' letter.

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Spotify boss Horacio Gutierrez told Parliament that the couple's podcast deal created a "virtuous cycle" that will help struggling musicians on the platform. However, the artists beg to differ — as many are being paid less than a penny per stream.

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Musician Harrison Rhys felt Spotify's deal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was a major slap in the face to artists on the platform.

"I believe what Spotify have done is unethical, we are only being paid £0.0038 [about half a cent] per stream but they are able to pay out what is probably a multimillion-dollar fee to Harry and Meghan," he told the Daily Star.

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Rhys believes that Harry and his woke wife would obviously accept the multi-million dollar offer. However, their new deal came about while musicians all over the world were struggling due to the ongoing pandemic, leading to more upset throughout the industry.

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“In reality who wouldn’t want to accept that sort of money to have their podcast broadcast and it is likely to be a positive thing for their listeners as the Sussexes definitely are doing a lot of good with their projects around the world,” he added. “But this last year has been the most difficult one for musicians where many have had the majority of their income lost so I feel this is a kick in the teeth.”

Singer-songwriter Callum Gardner also shared his dissatisfaction with Spotify and their deals with artists. “I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years-old,” the 26-year-old told the outlet. “I don’t get paid from Spotify, it’s never broken even from the money I used to put songs on Spotify. It’s hard, I don’t know what we are supposed to do because they have all the power and somehow all of the artists have all agreed."

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Naomi Pohl, musicians’ union deputy general secretary, claimed that most streaming services and major music labels benefit off their artists while seemingly ripping them off in the process. However, the artists feel the unbalanced relationship between the two must change.

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"Most streaming revenue benefits large corporations like the major labels at the expense of artists making a decent living," Pohl said. "The time has come for change and we are hopeful the U.K. government are listening and that we fix streaming and get a better deal for all music makers."

Last December, Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, announced their new deal with Spotify to produce and host podcasts deal. In a statement released at the time, the soon to be parents-of-two shared that they set up their own production company, Archewell Audio, and will produce programming "that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world," OK! previously reported.

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Their million-dollar deal with Spotify was their second since moving to the U.S. after they stepped away from their senior royal duties last year. 

Last September, the power couple signed a $150 million deal with Netflix.

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