Free audiobooks that will be tested by Spotify; could become a competitor to Audible

Spotify plans to offer free audiobooks to paying subscribers over the next few months as it continues to look for ways to make money, according to a new report today.

The company is reportedly working with some of the largest publishers in the US to offer premium subscribers up to 20 hours of free audiobook listening per month, but don't… ;don't expect that to last long …

The plan is described as a temporary test as the company considers competing with Audible on a larger scale.

Spotify first entered the audiobook market in 2020 with only a handful of public domain titles. More titles were added in 2021, but the company's interest only took a serious turn when it acquired audiobook platform Findaway almost exactly a year ago.

That gave it 300,000 titles but no clear unique sales. dot. Prices were in line with market leader Audible, and there were no discounts for paying subscribers.

The WSJ says the company now wants to understand the potential appeal of audiobooks to a broader subscriber base.

A pilot program that will allow subscribers to listen to up to 20 hours of audiobooks a month at no additional cost, according to people familiar with the matter. . Details are still being worked out, but the company plans to offer the program for a limited time and is keen to gauge customer interest in audiobooks.

Audiobooks provide an opportunity for Spotify to diversify its subscriber offerings and revenue streams. Spotify executives are poised to challenge existing audiobook platform Audible and have told some publishers that their participation will help weaken the influence of the platform in the industry, some people said.

Even though the company has long said , which prioritizes growth over profitability, investors are said to be becoming increasingly impatient.

Spotify has almost never made a profit from streaming music, which Jimmy Iovine says is impossible because nearly all of the revenue goes back to the music labels.

“The streaming services are in a bad situation, there is no margin, they are not making money,” he said. “Amazon sells Prime; Apple sells phones and iPads; Spotify, they're going to have to find a way to get that audience to buy something else.”

Spotify has been eyeing a move into podcasting as one potential path to profitability, but it's unclear how successful it will be turned out to be.

WSJ reports that at least four English-speaking countries are expected to take part in the testing, although not necessarily at the same time.

Most likely, over time the test will be extended to a group of English-speaking countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

Publishers, like Spotify, probably want to see more competition, since Audible currently dominates the market, which gives them little bargaining power.

Photo: Lena Kudryavtseva/Unsplash

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