Spotify is planning on rolling out a free audiobook trial for subscribers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The pilot program will feature titles from some of the largest US publishers, and users can expect up to 20 hours of listening — roughly two audiobooks — per month.
Spotify first began offering audiobooks last year after acquiring Findaway, an audiobook platform. The main difference is it’s so far been using a pay-per-download model. However, as the WSJ notes, users had to purchase audiobooks via a web browser in an attempt to circumvent Apple’s 30 percent commission for in-app purchases. The pilot program will instead allow users to download books directly within the app.
The program will purportedly roll out to English-speaking countries first on a limited basis, and the list of available titles is expected to be “broad.” It’s less clear how Spotify aims to compensate publishers, though the WSJ report notes they may receive payment based on how long users spend listening to books.
As with podcasts, Spotify’s foray into audiobooks is meant to help expand its services beyond music streaming while bringing in more revenue streams. In this case, it’s an obvious challenge to Amazon’s Audible service, which has a chokehold on the audiobook market. As of 2022, Audible held 63.4 percent of the audiobook market, with roughly $1.8 billion in sales.