Spotify Plans to Add Audiobooks to Its Already Cluttered App

Spotify Plans to Add Audiobooks to Its Already Cluttered App
Who wouldn't want to whiplash between their favourite fight song and a chapter of a self-help book? (Photo: Martin Bureau, Getty Images)

Spotify is already a mess of music and podcasts, and soon the platform will offer audiobooks as part of the heap of content clamoring for your ears every time you open the app.

The streaming music service announced it is acquiring an audiobook company called Findaway, with plans to add audiobooks to the mix in 2022. The deal reportedly goes beyond simply distributing audiobooks and may also include audiobook creation services. This sounds akin to Spotify’s podcast platform, Anchor, which lets you record, edit, and publish podcast episodes on the fly. Spotify will pair authors of books with potential narrators to effectively create its own version of Audible.

“With this acquisition, we’re going to be able to accelerate the addition of an audiobook catalogue onto the platform so that users can effectively get all of the audio content that they want all on one platform,” Nir Zicherman, head of audiobooks at Spotify, told The Verge.

The company plans to sell individual audiobooks to free and paid users and allow authors and publishers to use another payment processing platform and keep the sales. Those who opt for Spotify’s payment platform will have to share revenue, though that could help independent authors distribute their work more quickly.

Spotify also plans to work on audiobook discovery, similar to its work surfacing songs, playlists, and podcasts. But this could get annoying fast, especially if you’re already deeply embedded within another platform for audiobooks. For instance, I leaned in fully to the Google Play Store and its audiobooks, which integrate nicely with my Google Assistant smart displays. Maybe there’s some synergy to be had here — say, firing up a playlist of fight songs after listening to a self-help book on managing anger — but either way, Spotify is going to have some serious competition.

Amazon’s Audible is the clear rival, and adding a library of audiobooks to its platform helps position Spotify as your one-stop audio shop. According to The Verge, Spotify might even venture into subscription territory as part of its premium offerings.

There are no details on how much Spotify offered Findaway, though the company stands to make money any time someone streams a Findaway-distributed book. It will also have to pay royalties to other audiobook publishers and authors.