Spotify brings audiobooks to U.S. users with a catalog of 300,000 titles to start • TechCrunch
Spotify today emission Supports audiobooks on its streaming service, offering customers a third audio content beyond music and podcasts. Initially, the audiobooks will be available to US users, who will have access to some 300,000+ titles recommended by Spotify’s editors. But over time, the company said it plans to expand audiobooks to other markets, increase selection, and start using algorithmic recommendations to recommend books to users, just as it does now with other audio formats.
These titles will be found in the Spotify app’s new “Audiobooks” hub and other areas, including users’ featured recommendations, where they can be purchased a la carte.
Like other audiobook services, Spotify will offer a standard set of features, including the ability to download titles for offline listening, adjust playback speed, rate titles, and listen across devices.
Unlike other platforms, however, each book is priced individually, rather than a single, consistent price for all books in the catalog. Spotify intends to use this as one of the key differentiators and competitive advantages of its service.
“We believe a more flexible pricing model could actually allow viewers who have never consumed the format to start consuming on Spotify,” Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s vice president and global head of audiobooks and gated content, explained in the briefing. It.” Plus, he added, it might work for authors who may not have had readers in the past.
The company also said royalties would be in line with industry norms, but would vary by publisher. It doesn’t provide scope.
Unlike Audible, which sells subscriptions and “credits” to buy audiobooks through in-app purchases, Spotify doesn’t use the app store’s own payment system for audiobook sales. Instead, it will offer a preview of the book’s content for free, but users will be directed to Spotify’s website to complete their purchase, the company told reporters. After that, the purchased audiobooks will be unlocked in the app and saved to the user’s library.
Notably, Spotify’s ability to avoid in-app purchases on iOS follows a policy change Apple announced in March that focused on “reader” apps — those designed to provide access to music, An application for access to digital content such as books, videos or magazines. Apple said the apps can now use external links if approved. Meanwhile, Google began piloting third-party billing earlier this year, with Spotify as its first customer.
Spotify would not discuss which policies allow it to direct customers to its website to make purchases, but claims its system “complies” with app store rules.
Spotify also won’t detail its future plans for audiobooks, but one executive did suggest the company will explore other business models, such as subscriptions and advertising. It also aims to explore how to make podcasts more interactive, similar to how it adds interactivity to podcasts. It hinted that it might be able to connect audiobooks to other parts of its business — for example, by offering a Spotify playlist to accompany the audiobook’s title as bonus material.
“…We saw an opportunity to innovate in an untapped market,” Zicherman said in a news release. “Audiobooks only have a 6% to 7% share of the broader book market, and the category is growing at 20% year over year,” he noted. “We believe we have the potential to massively expand the audiobook audience, bringing the work of extraordinary authors into people’s lives. We intend to take audiobooks further than ever before. Just like Spotify changed the way people create and listen to music As with podcasts, we believe that over time we can do the same with audiobooks by offering new formats, new ways to interact with content, and new ways to discover,” he said.
While Spotify’s goal is to improve discovery over time, it won’t do so with social features right away. That said, you won’t be able to see what books your friends are listening to, just like you can now see what music they’re playing through their desktop app.
Spotify earlier expressed interest in audiobooks by Test format using public domain titleand then again through its 2021 partnership with Storytel, which allows the company’s customers to access their books within Spotify’s app through technology integrations.
However, it officially confirmed its intention to enter the market with the acquisition of a digital audiobook distributor find a way last November.At the time, Spotify cited Research estimates Shows how the audiobook industry is projected to grow from $3.3 billion in 2020 to $15 billion in 2027.
Later, at an investor day in June of this year, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek pointed out that audiobooks have a whopping 50% share of the $140 billion book market in the market with the highest audiobook penetration, meaning that The addressable market could be in the billions of dollars. The company also predicts that gross margins for audiobooks could exceed 40%, similar to podcasts.
Spotify didn’t reveal which publishers it’s partnering with to launch, but said bestsellers and top authors will be well represented across genre selections. (As the company did not offer a preview service, we cannot confirm the accuracy of this statement.)
The launch will also leverage Spotify’s acquisition of Findaway and support Findaway Voices, a self-publishing tool that allows authors to instantly publish to a variety of audio platforms, including now Spotify. This appears to be similar to its strategy with Anchor, which allows podcasts to be distributed to multiple platforms. Spotify says all Findaway Voices titles will be available at launch and in the future.
Despite the size of the addressable market, Spotify didn’t enter the space without competition. It will compete with top audiobook providers like Apple, Amazon-owned Audible, Google, Nook, Rakuten Kobo, Chirp, Audiobooks.com, and public library offerings including OverDrive. Plus, it does so without any exclusive titles that appeal to listeners like Audible’s Originals — though that may change over time, thanks to its investment in Findaway.
Audiobooks are rolling out to the Spotify app in the US starting today