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 "huge opportunity." Ek said he wanted to compete with the other "major player dominating the space," referring to Amazon and its audiobook platform, Audible, as the only notable rival.
Spotify didn't reveal much about its plan of attack, but did give some details in its presentation.
Spotify R&D chief Gustav Söderström said the audiobook feature would launch later this year for its 400 million listeners, but did not 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 pretty hard to find. You can type "audiobooks" into the Spotify search bar and find various audiobook playlists like The Lord of the Rings, but it's not like they're properly advertised.
We know that the Findaway audiobook platform, which Spotify acquired in late 2021, will lead the charge. The idea is for Spotify to use Findaway's audiobook "experience and infrastructure" to create the new feature. During the event, Findaway Voices was cited as an example. It is a service that connects authors with voice actors to play and record an audiobook. Once registered, Findaway takes care of the distribution.
Spotify didn't provide any more details, but it's safe to assume that Spotify audiobooks will have their own section in the main app, just like podcasts. It's unclear if listeners will pay more for the new service or if they'll be able to buy books separately like they do on Audible.
We asked Spotify for more details and an exact release date for the revamped audiobooks feature, but didn't respond.
Analysis: growing empire
In recent years, Spotify has been aggressively growing its audio empire and attracting new customers. The revamped podcasts quickly proved to be a wise investment, with Spotify hitting 165 million premium members within months of launching the new service. Now if only Spotify had committed to releasing HiFi audio on their platform.
For book lovers, TechRadar has a list of the best audiobook websites of the year.