Spotify, the popular music streaming platform, is expanding its reach into the audiobook industry. The company plans to offer 15 hours of audiobooks per month to premium subscribers in the UK and Australia, with plans to expand to the US later this year. By adding audiobooks to its platform, Spotify aims to disrupt the dominance of Amazon-owned Audible in the audiobook retail market. This move is part of Spotify’s strategy to transform itself into the go-to platform for audio content, following its success in the music and podcast industries.
With over 220 million premium paying members worldwide, Spotify has the potential to expose audiobooks to a vast new audience. The platform’s recommendation algorithms can suggest relevant audiobooks to users based on their podcast preferences, as well as promote audio titles to listeners who have engaged with podcasts featuring specific authors. This could open up new opportunities for publishers to reach a wider range of readers.
However, there are concerns that Spotify’s entry into the audiobook market could disrupt the established business model. Rather than paying for each audiobook individually, Spotify has proposed a pay-as-you-listen model, where customers are charged based on the amount of time they spend listening to audiobooks. Some authors and publishers worry that this pricing structure could devalue the work that goes into writing a book and potentially cannibalize existing sales. Despite these concerns, Spotify believes that its 15-hour limit and the exposure it provides to new customers will ultimately benefit authors and publishers.
Spotify has already struck deals with major publishers, including Hachette Book Group, and will offer a catalog of more than 150,000 titles to start. However, not all publishers are fully on board, with some being more cautious about the new model. Despite the potential risks, Spotify remains confident in the economics of its approach and believes that heavy consumers of audiobooks will benefit from this expansion.