Free audiobooks to be tested by Spotify; Audible competition plan | Technology

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

The company is said to be 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 expect it to last long …

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

Spotify first moved into the audiobook field in 2020, with just 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 300K titles, but no clear unique selling point. Pricing was on par with market leader Audible, and there were no discounts for paying subscribers.

The WSJ says that the company now wants to get an understanding of the potential appeal of audiobooks to its wider subscriber base.

The pilot program, which would 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 evolving, but the company expects to offer the program for a limited time and aims to gauge customer interest in audiobooks.

Audiobooks represent a way for Spotify to diversify its offerings to subscribers—and its sources of revenue. Executives at Spotify are eager to challenge incumbent audiobook platform Audible, and told some publishers that their participation would help break the platform’s hold on the industry, some of the people said.

While the company has long claimed that it prioritizes growth over profitability, investors are said to be growing increasingly impatient….

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