Spotify has announced plans to acquire audiobook services and distribution company Findaway at an undisclosed price. The company operates multiple businesses, including distributing audiobooks on various platforms and offering audiobook creation services as part of its Findaway Voices business. The company associates authors and storytellers, who could become a valuable new source of revenue for Spotify.
Additionally, it makes Spotify both a commercial bookseller and audiobook publisher, a title the company has been hesitant to accept for its podcasting efforts.
“With this acquisition, we will be able to accelerate the addition of an audiobook catalog to the platform so that users can actually get all the audio content they want on one platform,” says Nir Zicherman, head of audiobooks at Spotify. , in a chat with The Verge.
Zicherman says the team is focusing on “innovation” in space to make audiobooks a “richer experience” and “democratization” as more people can create and publish more audiobooks. She also wants to work on discovering audio books, as she has always focused on music and podcasts.
Zicherman declined to share any details about exclusives that might impact Spotify’s audiobook strategy, but praised the company’s work with creators. “Voices currently allows creators to deliver widely,” he says, “and this is a very important part of the offering and something we intend to maintain and continue to support because we think it’s part of what makes the platform so powerful from a point of view. view of the creator “.
Zicherman also says Spotify’s main app will likely get more audiobooks in early 2022, when some Open Access partnerships start distributing content there. (Storytel, a leading audiobook streaming apps, is an initial partner.) However, these moves aren’t the first to signal Spotify’s interest in the audiobook space. It worked with YouTubers and celebrities in January to distribute classic book readings, such as Frankenstein, and so collaborated with JK Rowling’s Wizarding World to release Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in sound form.
More importantly, the acquisition will give Spotify a new way to make money by staying in the audio industry. Findaway shares the authors’ royalties, which means that every time someone buys a book distributed by Findaway on the platform, Spotify will make money. It will also take a portion of the revenue when people buy a book on the platform, like any retailer. (A spokesperson declined to comment on its monetization plans.) It seems possible Spotify could launch new subscription tiers, similar to Audible, to account for audiobook consumption. Notably, however, Spotify will also have to pay royalties to other distributors and audiobook authors, similar to how it treats music content.
Correction 11/11, 4: 5 ET: This story initially claimed Spotify would make money when people streamed an audiobook. He should have said that when they buy one. We apologize for the mistake and have corrected it.