Spotify has so far mainly focused on the music division. But now plans have become known according to which the streaming provider would like to move closer to Audible and add more audio books to its library.
There are already a few audio books on Spotify. These are mainly older classics, but also some top titles such as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. However, the provider never really advertised its audio books. In addition, users find radio plays far more often – i.e. those recordings in which a speaker does not read from a book, but in which several speakers are involved. Think, for example, of the TKKG stories. Fans of great novels, epic sagas or other bestselling books, on the other hand, are still very little served at Spotify. So your first source of contact has so far been the competitor Audible.
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Spotify improves audiobook offer
Spotify does not want to miss this user base and therefore adjusts its offer at regular intervals. In addition to exclusive content, the music streaming service is also offering more and more podcasts. The audio book division is a further step towards a varied program. Here the provider is not only experimenting with additional content, the automatic playback also seems to have been optimized in some points.
In contrast to playlists, when playing audiobooks it is crucial that the app remembers the point at which the user interrupted the book. Because if it does not go on exactly there the next time you play it, you have to wind around, which is just annoying. There must also be no automatic shuffle. After all, the individual chapters of a book should be reproduced in the correct order. A wild mess is out of place here. But it is precisely these simple mechanisms that Spotify has so far lacked. Because the provider treated audio books like normal music.
In the USA, however, Spotify has now started a test and entered the first audio books as such in its library. According to the portal ” The Hollywood Reporter ” , users finally have the desired playback functions at hand. At the start, subscribers will have nine titles available via free access, but initially only in English. Some of them are read by very well-known people:
- “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” by Frederick Douglass, read by Forest Whitaker
- “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, read by Hilary Swank
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, read by David Dobrik
- “Persuasion” by Jane Austin, read by Cynthia Erivo
- “Cane” by Jean Toomer, read by Audra McDonald
- “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, read by James Langton
- “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, read by Sarah Coombs
- “Passing” by Nella Larsen, read by Bahni Turpin
- Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, read by Santino Fontana
Audiobooks are particularly popular with German users
Germans in particular like to listen to audio books. The popularity of audiobooks in this country is said to have been a factor in why Spotify CEO Daniel Ek decided to further expand the offer beyond music. At the beginning of 2019, Spotify acquired the two podcast companies “Gimlet Media” and “Anchor”. The purchase was followed by a number of exclusive podcasts, including productions with speakers such as Barack and Michelle Obama as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There are now around 1.9 million podcasts on Spotify, according to the company. And around 22 percent of the approximately 320 million monthly active users accessed this content in the third quarter of 2020.
For Spotify, the audiobook market is just another step. In 2019, the US audiobook market was valued at nearly $ 2.7 billion. Audible, which belongs to Amazon and has hardly had any competition there, benefited from this in particular. Spotify would like to change that and already advertised a position for a head of the audio book division in the summer. The test that has now started could be a first step towards a comprehensive Audibook offer.