Home TechnologyMobile Spotify expands its audiobook offering to more English-speaking markets outside of the United States

Spotify expands its audiobook offering to more English-speaking markets outside of the United States

the company introduced audiobook

by George Mensah
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Spotify announced today that it is expanding its newly launched audiobook service outside of the United States. The service will now be available in other English-speaking markets such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, allowing users to access Spotify’s catalog of audiobook titles directly from the streaming app.

This September, the company introduced audiobook support in the United States, giving users access to over 300,000 audiobook titles. We can find these in the Spotify app through a new “Audiobooks” hub and curated recommendations. Spotify editors would initially choose titles to recommend to the streaming app’s users, according to the company. However, Spotify intends to use algorithmic recommendations to suggest titles to users in the future, just as it does now with its other supported services.

To avoid regulation, Apple updated its policy this year to allow “reader” apps, such as audiobook providers, to link from their app to their website, allowing app users to create or manage their accounts. This feature is available through Spotify’s account settings section, where users can now see which plan they currently pay for and tap on other options to upgrade or downgrade their plan. This takes them to Spotify’s website. “You can’t change your plan in app,” the company says again. We realize it’s not ideal.” However, this settings screen does not direct users to the audiobooks section of its website.

Spotify stated it intends to improve audiobook discovery over time, as well as expand the feature to new markets and introduce new formats and ways to interact with audiobook content. When it acquired digital audiobook distributor Findaway last year, the company suggested that audiobooks could serve as a new revenue stream, stating that the industry is expected to grow from $3.3 billion in 2020 to $15 billion by 2027.
The company confirmed to TechCrunch that consumers in the newly added markets will have access to the same number of titles as those in the United States (300,000+), but declined to share any metrics on how many Spotify users have purchased audiobooks since the service’s launch.

Spotify, like other audiobook apps, provides a standard set of features, such as the ability to download titles for offline listening, rate titles, adjust playback speed, and listen on multiple devices.

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However, from the standpoint of the consumer, implementing audiobooks in the Spotify app leaves much to be desired. The company does not want to make the titles available through in-app purchases, which would require it to pay a commission to Apple or Google on sales. This means that users must first visit Spotify’s website to purchase the book, then pay Spotify directly before returning to the app to access it. Spotify’s mobile app does not contain a link to its website. When a user taps “play” on an audiobook, a message appears that says, “You can’t buy audiobooks in the app.” We understand it is not ideal.”

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, whose company filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission nearly four years ago, cited this issue in a blog post about the audiobook service’s difficulties as yet another way that Apple is “doing serious harm to the internet economy” and “choking competition.”

Other services have found various ways to get around Apple’s rules. For example, Amazon-owned Audible sells subscriptions as well as “credits” that can purchase audiobooks through in-app purchases.

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