Spotify rolls out audiobooks offer to US

From The Bookseller:

Spotify is rolling out its audiobooks offer to subscribers in the US after launching in the UK and Australia in October. 

From today (8th November) premium subscribers in the US will have access to 15 hours of audiobooks per month on the platform. Spotify says the platform now has 200,000 audiobooks including new releases such as Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me (Gallery). 

The rollout to the US is quicker than expected, with Spotify originally saying the offer would be available in the US “this winter”.  

As The Bookseller reported last month, all of the major book publishers have entered into deals with the Swedish tech giant, as well as a number of independent publishers. Book publishers have long expressed reservations about subscription deals for digital content, but Spotify has offered variations of the typical pooled income arrangement, with a more limited offer that publishers believe will assure agents and authors that their income streams will not be undermined. 

David Kaefer, vice-president of business affairs at Spotify, previously told The Bookseller that Spotify was working with publishers in slightly different ways, according to the structures that best suited them. “We’ve gone in with that mindset of ‘how can we get you comfortable with participating?’ The central thing that everyone has in mind is if you can grow the market, then we want to figure out how we can work together. How we work together might be a little bit different publisher to publisher.” 

He continued: “There is a pooling model for a segment of our partners and generally its partners who are slightly smaller scale. A part of that is the convenience and the understanding that it feels good to be part of a common set of terms … for a lot of people they were comfortable with that approach. Some people, particularly larger providers, wanted to do something different.” 

The Bookseller understands deals with larger publishers are more akin to a pay-out per title based on a listening threshold being reached.  

Speaking at Frankfurt Book Fair last month Nihar Malaviya, the newly confirmed global c.e.o. at Penguin Random House, played down concerns around its deal with Spotify, indicating that the arrangement it struck with the tech music giant over its audiobooks was “basically commensurate to what we’re getting from the marketplace overall”. 

He also stressed that it was the unlimited consumption model that still alarmed PRH. Malaviya said PRH has previously participated in different subscription schemes, and that the compensation model it had agreed with Spotify “made us comfortable with participating in this specific offering”.  

Malaviya said he could not go into the exact details due to confidentiality but surmised “we are interested in models where we are basically getting paid”. He went on to argue that Spotify has “hundreds of millions of paying subscribers around the entire world” and the new offer could “bring new people into the reading ecosystem”. 

Link to the rest at The Bookseller

PG says competition is good for Amazon and authors all across its book business.

1 thought on “Spotify rolls out audiobooks offer to US”

  1. > will have access to 15 hours of audiobooks

    My first thought was that nobody into chonky doorstoppers need apply. Except this is even worse than that, as two of the current top five fiction bestsellers and one of the top five nonfiction titles on the NY Times bestseller list are longer than fifteen hours.

    Amazon could do with some competition that doesn’t go out of its way to shoot itself in the foot. The Kobo/Walmart mess that went nowhere, now this. Maybe it is some sort of “sample before you buy” situation?

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