Spotify launches audiobook offering in UK and Australia

Spotify launches audiobook offering in UK and Australia
Daniel Ek: Spotify CEO at the audiobook announcement event on 3 October (Credit: Spotify)

Spotify has launched free monthly audiobook access to UK & Australia Premium subscribers.

These subscribers, as well as plan managers for Family and Duo accounts, will get 15 hours of listening per month of a range of 150,000 audiobooks which includes “upwards of 70% of bestselling books” from major and independent publishers.

Users can also purchase 10-hour top-ups to this amount, titles “a la carte” and download audiobooks for offline listening.

The plan is to launch in the US later this winter with other territories to follow.

Spotify wants to become a ‘one-stop shop for audio’

By “layering in” 150,000 audiobooks on to its current offering of 100 million music tracks and 5 million podcasts, Spotify has signalled it wants to be a “one-stop destination for all things audio”, effectively taking the competition to other audio apps in the space.

Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO, called this move “a big step in the evolution” of the company upon launch yesterday, and other execs said audiobooks were a fast-growing and higher margin vertical that would deliver business growth, greater distribution for authors, and better engagement with listeners.

So what marks out Spotify’s current audiobook offering?

Whereas Amazon’s Audible service works on a monthly subscription credit basis which gets you one entire book of choice, Spotify’s service is based on time spent listening to a title.

If Premium users come to the end of their 15 hours of monthly listening time, they can purchase 10-hour top-ups in the app (£9.99 in the UK) which can roll over month by month.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Media Leader the average audiobook length is between seven and 10 hours. So you’re doing well if you can listen to more than a single book per month as part of your paid subscription.

Rather than this be a limit for listeners, Owen Smith, Spotify’s head of audiobooks product and tech, said this means listeners can listen “however they would like”, either focussing on one title and finishing it, or having 10 books open and making their way through them slowly. Smith added: “The flexibility is a real benefit of our product. And they’ll have 15 hours a month in which to listen to that mix of content.”

Personalisation will also be a distinctive part of Spotify’s audiobook offering. It wants to offer this across all of its audio formats on a single platform so users do not need to switch apps or purchase new services, and also has options to create shareable audiobook playlists.

David Kaefer, Spotify’s VP of business affairs and the audiobooks business, said the hourly listening model, added with this investment into discoverability was a “magical combination”.

Spotify’s new mantra: efficiency

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