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What does it mean that Spotify is moving into audiobooks?

Jonny Diamond

August 20, 2020, 12:46pm

Apparently Spotify is looking for someone to run an audiobooks division, per this very thorough analysis by Mark Williams at The New Publishing Standard. With 299 million monthly users, that could actually be a pretty huge deal for a sector of publishing that’s absolutely dominated by Amazon (aka Audible).

I highly recommend reading Williams full post, but the biggest question (for me, anyway, as an audiobook reader and Spotify user) is how the hell Spotify plans to bring the one-price-for-infinite-songs subscription model to books. On the one hand, I imagine publishers are glad to see a potential and legitimate competitor enter the playing field to provide an alternative to Amazon’s incredibly aggressive contract stipulations (look, I love these guys, but I don’t think Bezos and co. are all that worried); on the other… UNLIMITED BOOKS WHAT NOW?!

As Williams writes (somewhat breathlessly):

..the Anglophone publishing community is notoriously adverse to the unlimited subscription model that prevails outside the US/UK but that rules the roost in the Nordics. Spotify, with its mixed menu of unlimited subscription and free-with-adverts model may face a challenging time getting mainstream English-language publishers on board in sufficient volume to make a go of this.

[…]

The kingmaker will be the big publishers, but it will be consumers that will be the kingmakers’ kingmaker.

You hear that, fellow readers? We ARE the kingmakers’ kingmaker.

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