Oct 4, 2023 2 min read

Spotify adds free audiobook access to premium in UK and Australia

Spotify has added free access to audiobooks to its standard premium subscription package in the UK and Australia - offering subscribers fifteen hours of book listening per month

Spotify adds free audiobook access to premium in UK and Australia

Spotify has announced that it will now offer free access to fifteen hours of audio-book listening every month for premium subscribers in the UK and Australia, with the US to follow later this year. Subscribers will be able to pick from 150,000 audiobooks.

"We believe that offering personalised music, podcasts and audiobooks on a single platform gives you a superior way to connect with your favourite artists, podcasters, creators and authors - all in one spot", the streaming service says. "Not only can you listen to some of your favourite authors’ works, but you can also tune into podcasts where fans dissect the most minor details of a story and find the hidden meaning in every sentence, without leaving the app".

The new offer for premium subscribers is part of Spotify's big bid to become a dominant player in audiobooks as well as music and podcasts. It launched its pay-as-you-go audiobooks offer last year. However, so far this has been something of a lacklustre affair, not least because paying to access a book on mobile is a very clunky experience as Spotify seeks to avoid taking any in-app payments where it would have to pay a commission to Apple or Google.

Persuading customers to go through that process when they aren't even used to using Spotify for audiobooks is tricky. It therefore makes sense to make audiobook listening available for free to premium subscribers, so they get used to using Spotify for books and might then be willing to go through whatever process is necessary to pay for additional access.

It’s thought that access to audiobooks will be part of a higher priced premium package that Spotify is planning, so it's interesting to see such access actually being made available as part the service's standard premium package too.

The music industry has generally been resistant to the idea that other content types should get a cut of the monies generated by premium subscription sales. If audiobook access came as part of a higher priced subscription there would be a separate income stream that could be shared with book publishers. By making audiobooks available on the standard package, Spotify may well be taking a finanical hit to try and get its third content strand properly off the ground.

Books available under this scheme are marked as "included in premium" in the Spotify app. For those with Family or Duo plan subscriptions, only the primary account holder will have book access.

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