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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – Dominic Lipinski / Getty Images Europe

Spotify has been forced to defend its multi-million pound podcast deal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, saying the ‘box office’ pair will help generate revenue.

Musicians and songwriters have complained about receiving such paltry royalties from streaming services that they are struggling to make ends meet.

At the same time, Spotify paid the Duke and Duchess £ 18million to produce and host podcasts ‘celebrating kindness and compassion’.

Horacio Gutierrez, Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer of Spotify, appeared before MPs on Wednesday at a hearing of the Special Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of his investigation into the broadcasting of music continuously.

Mr Gutierrez did not go into details on the Duke and Duchess’s fees, but said: “They don’t do it for free.”

When asked if the couple was considered a ‘box office’, Mr Gutierrez replied: ‘Yes. In terms of the talent that goes into podcasts, yes. “

He compared the couple’s podcast release to Game of Thrones and House of Cards on Netflix. “These high-output shows that tend to be the main focus that draw people into the service, and therefore benefit everyone.

“It’s clear that having podcast offerings on the service benefits the consumption of music, so overall there’s a virtuous cycle happening,” Gutierrez said.

Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester, told Mr Gutierrez that the compensation deal “remains in the crawl of some of the performers who currently drive Uber cars to pay rent.”

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