A chapter one ‘gold spot’? Spotify sales chief’s dream for audiobooks

A chapter one ‘gold spot’? Spotify sales chief’s dream for audiobooks

Which idea would you pitch if you had five minutes in a lift with the founder of Spotify?

For Spotify’s head of sales, UK and northern Europe, Ed Couchman, it would be to introduce ad insertions in audiobooks — before chapter one, for example.

The audio streaming giant is now second only to Amazon among audiobook providers and, as discussed in a recent episode of The Media Leader Podcast, there are ambitious efforts to significantly grow Spotify’s ad sales business.

In this two-minute clip, Couchman discussed Spotify’s audiobooks strategy and the advertising potential as he saw it with reporter Ella Sagar.

Listen using the player or read an edited transcript below:


The Media Leader: In the latest earnings, Spotify is now the number two audiobook provider behind Amazon. Is the goal to ever catch up? Is Amazon too big to catch up to? Or are you doing different things?

Ed Couchman: One thing I think we are doing, which I understand to be really well-received by publishers, is that we’re growing the entire audiobook market.

So if we look at some Q4 data, then we believe that, actually, the overall audio listening market for audiobooks grew by 28%. So it feels that we’re growing; more people are listening to audiobooks, rather than just switching between providers, essentially. And I think that’s got to be a good thing for publishers and for authors and content creators overall…

The Media Leader: …which ties back into what Spotify talks about: the creators and the listeners, and that “loop”.

Couchman: Yeah, this sort of virtual cycle that generates revenue and income for content creators, allows them to live off their talents and connects fans to that. And it just feels like this beautiful virtual circle.

The Media Leader: I was wondering if you thought there was any advertising potential with audiobooks, like before the book starts or in-between chapters — how you might sell that?

Couchman: I don’t believe we have any official plans. But if I had my dreams come true and I had five minutes with Daniel [Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify] in the lift, and I could capture his attention and say “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for advertisers and audiobooks” — I do think there’s that wonderful moment when you’re sitting in your armchair or you’re sitting down to listen, and I think you have a really captive, attentive audience, just as you go into chapter one.

I think that’d be really a great opportunity for advertisers. But I have to underline that’s my own personal dream of an advertising slot, rather than anything official.

The Media Leader: Yeah, it’s very “lean in” format.

Couchman: I think it’s just that key moment, just before chapter one starts — essentially where you’re absolutely 100% paying attention. There’s no distractions whatsoever. I think that’ll be a really great advertising moment.

The Media Leader: OK, well, I hope Daniel Ek is listening…

Listen to the full episode

The Media Leader Podcast publishes twice a week and features the most important decision-makers in media and advertising.

Podcast: Spotify’s $10bn advertising ambition — with UK sales chief Ed Couchman

Podcast: TalkTV going off linear, Reach earnings and a new Global CEO

Podcast: Consultancy not just ‘something to do in-between jobs’, says TheZoo.London


Adwanted UK are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine. To access our audio industry directory, visit audioscape.info and to find your new job in audio visit The Media Leader Jobs, a dedicated marketplace for media, advertising and adtech roles.

Media Jobs