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Spotify, the renowned music streaming platform, has recently made a significant stride in enhancing its user offerings. A mere month after the announcement of introducing a selection of audiobooks as part of its Premium subscription, the company is now extending this service to its U.S. user base for the first time.
A Progressive Leap
This expansion grants Premium subscribers 15 hours of monthly audiobook listening time, a notable rise from the initial 150,000 titles in the U.K. and Australia to a vast catalog of 200,000 titles. This move is a clear sign of Spotify’s commitment to diversifying its content and catering to the evolving preferences of its users. Spotify first ventured into the realm of audiobooks in September 2022, following its acquisition of Findaway, a digital audiobook distributor, in 2021. The company debuted with a catalog of approximately 300,000 titles for U.S. users, later extending its reach to other English-speaking markets. Canada was added to the list in early 2023.
apping into a Growing Market
Spotify has acknowledged the potential of tapping into the growing market of audiobooks. Even though audiobooks currently hold a 6% to 7% share of the broader book market, the category is witnessing a 20% year-over-year growth. This growth is majorly driven by Gen Z and millennials, with 72% of 18- to 34-year-olds indulging in audiobook listening.
Initially, accessing Spotify’s audiobooks was a somewhat complex process, primarily due to the company’s reluctance to share commissions with app stores on in-app purchases. Users had to purchase titles individually via Spotify’s website before listening to them in-app. However, the introduction of a certain number of hours in the Premium subscription has streamlined this process, enabling users to select a book and start listening with a single click. Users desiring more time can opt for an additional 10 hours by purchasing a “top-off.”
Discoverability and Content Diversity
Spotify has ensured easy discoverability of its audiobooks. They can be found on the app’s Home feed or by searching for a specific title. A curated selection of popular titles is also available for browsing in the app’s audiobook hub.
Notable titles include recent releases like Britney Spears’ “The Woman in Me” and Jesmyn Ward’s “Let Us Descend,” alongside works by renowned authors such as Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Stephen King, Colleen Hoover, and musical artists like Willie Nelson and Dave Grohl.
The platform boasts over 70% of bestselling titles, encompassing books from the big five publishers as well as independent publishers and authors. The titles span across various genres and include classics like Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.”
Spotify’s Continued Growth
In its most recent quarter, Spotify reported a 16% year-over-year growth in paying subscribers, now totaling 226 million. Its monthly active users saw a 26% increase, reaching 574 million, surpassing the company’s forecast by 2 million. Revenue also rose by 11% year-over-year to €3.4 billion ($3.63 billion USD), aided by recent price hikes. This development heralds a promising upswing for Spotify, underlining its forward-thinking strategy and commitment to user satisfaction. The inclusion of audiobooks in its Premium subscription not only broadens its content spectrum but also positions it favorably to tap into the burgeoning audiobook market.