Spotify is going big on a new feature - and it's not music

Listening to an audiobook
(Image credit: Austin Distel/Unsplash)

Spotify has set its sights on a new sound-based frontier: audiobooks.

The streaming music company held its second Investor Day event on Wednesday where CEO Daniel Ek revealed the company’s new foray into the world of audiobooks, calling it a “massive opportunity.” Ek said he wants to compete with the other “major player dominating the space,” referencing Amazon and its audiobook platform, Audible, which is the only noteworthy rival.

The company didn’t reveal much of its attack plan, but did give a few details about Spotify audiobooks in its presentation.

Audiobook plans

Spotify’s Chief R&D Officer, Gustav Söderström, said the audiobook feature will launch later this year to its 400 million listeners, but he didn’t give a specific date.

Audiobooks will also be better integrated into the main app. 

In case you didn’t know (and no one can blame you), Spotify already has audiobooks on its platform, but they’re rather difficult to find. You can type in “audiobooks” in the Spotify search bar and find several audiobook playlists like one for The Lord of the Rings, but it’s not as if they were properly advertised.

We do know that the audiobook platform Findaway, which Spotify acquired back in late 2021, will be leading the charge. The idea is Spotify will be using Findaway’s audiobook “expertise and infrastructure” to build the new feature. During the event, Findaway Voices was listed as an example. It’s a service that connects authors with voice actors to read and record an audiobook. Once recorded, Findaway handles distribution.

Spotify didn’t offer any further details but it’s safe to assume that Spotify’s audiobooks will have their own section on the main app like podcasts. No word on if listeners will pay extra for the new service or if they can purchase books separately as they do on Audible.

We asked Spotify for more details and an exact launch date for the revamped audiobook feature, but were met with silence.

Analysis: Expanding empire

In recent years, Spotify has aggressively expanded its audio empire and attracted new customers. The revamped podcasts quickly proved to be a wise investment as Spotify hit 165 million premium members a few months after launching the new service. Now if only Spotify was this committed to launching HiFi audio to its platform.

For the librophiles, TechRadar has a list of the best audiobook websites for the year.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.