The Daily Telegraph
Spotify turns audiobook page in fight for listeners
Streaming giant harnesses star power to attract subscribers away from Amazon’s Audible service
‘We want to be able to use exciting new technologies to help people find that perfect book’
SPOTIFY is harnessing star power and social media trends in an attempt to win listeners away from Amazon’s Audible to its own new audiobook service.
The music streaming giant now offers premium users in the UK a choice of more than 200,000 audiobooks as part of their monthly subscription. Spotify subscribers can now listen to 15 hours of as many audiobooks as they like as part of a £10.99 fee. Users can also purchase 10-hour top-ups.
This compares with Audible, whose users pay £7.99 a month in return for one book credit and can pay for more.
Spotify Audiobooks, which was rolled out in the United States last week, offers users tailored “booklists”, much like the playlists it collates for users and encourages them to post on social media. Among booklists targeted at younger users is “trending on social”, which engages with the generation of Tiktok and Instagram users who pick up recommendations under the popular “Booktok” hashtag on social media platforms.
Spotify also recommends audiobooks specially curated to “appeal to your inner influencer”.
American author Taylor Jenkins Reid, whose works including Daisy Jones and The Six, took Booktok by storm before being adapted into major television shows, features multiple times on Spotify’s list of most popular listens.
Another booklist recommended to users is “compelling book-to-screen adaptations”, which includes other popular shows including The Summer I Turned Pretty, a coming-of-age tale developed by Amazon, and Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, which became a Marvel blockbuster.
Spotify counts 18 to 34-year-olds as the biggest and fastest-growing portion of its user base. The expansion aims to attract younger users of Amazon’s Audible service to a new reading platform.
One of Spotify’s leading audiobook bosses said that the consumer’s experience on standalone audiobook apps – such as Audible – felt dated.
David Kaefer, Spotify’s vice-president of business affairs and the audiobooks business, suggested that Spotify’s audiobooks launch was a “very different customer proposition” to other audiobook platforms such as Audible, which has more than 50 million paid subscribers – 57 per cent of which are under 45, according to recent data.
He added: “We want our customers to have flexibility in what they listen to.
“If I want to dive in and out of music or pods or audiobooks, that’s all possible. I think a lot of people have not seen the mix of flexibility that the hourly listening model gives you with the catalogue quality that we’ve been able to assemble.
“We want to be able to use exciting new technologies to help people find that perfect book.”
On average, audiobooks tend to fall within the eight to 10-hour range. Others would take months to listen to on Spotify – JRR Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring is more than 20 hours long, but could be bought with one month of Audible credit.
Audible boasts more than 200,000 titles in its audiobook collection but promotes them via bestseller lists and genre categories.