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Spotify Premium Serenades Subscribers with 15 Hours of Audiobooks

In a significant enhancement to their Premium offering, Spotify has announced that subscribers will now have access to up to 15 hours of free audiobooks streaming monthly, chosen from a catalog of over 150,000 titles.

This decision comes at a time when the music streaming giant, famous for its extensive music library, is diversifying its revenue streams in a bid to remain financially stable amidst competitive pressures. Unlike competitors such as Apple Music, Spotify, which doesn’t have a range of profit-driving products, has invested substantially in podcasts and now audiobooks to sustain and grow its user base and revenue.

The official statement says, “Spotify Premium will include instant access to 150,000+ Audiobooks.” Initially, this feature will be available to Premium users in the U.K. and Australia, with a subsequent rollout in the U.S. later in the year. It would have been nice to see this rollout worldwide, as a phased launch omits several regions from immediate access despite maintaining premium subscription costs.

How Spotify Premium Users Can Access Audiobooks

For ease of access to audiobooks, users can simply search for a book, ensuring it’s tagged “Included in Premium”, and commence listening from the first chapter or sample a preview to ascertain it’s the desired title. An editorially curated selection of top titles and audiobook recommendations will also be available via the Home feed or the audiobooks hub. Additionally, offline listening is available for audiobooks, ensuring users can carry their stories wherever they go.

Spotify’s 15-hour monthly allocation enables users to explore numerous titles from a regularly updated selection or consecutively listen to a single audiobook from start to finish. For avid listeners who exhaust their 15 hours before the month concludes, there’s an option to purchase an additional 10-hour top-up. Spotify says the platform’s automatic bookmarking feature ensures a seamless listening experience, allowing users to easily resume their listening from where they paused. But more on user experience at the bottom of this article.

It is imperative to note that this feature – Audiobook Streaming – is exclusive to Spotify Premium individual account holders and plan managers for Family and Duo accounts, leaving secondary account holders on family & duo plans in the lurch.

Concerns:

This initiative to integrate audiobooks into the Spotify platform highlights the company’s resilience and adaptability in maintaining user engagement and exploring new revenue avenues. However, the staggered rollout and the exclusive nature of the new offering indicate there is still progress to be made in terms of equitable feature distribution amongst global premium subscribers.

Also, the diversification and enrichment of audio content comes with its own set of challenges, particularly pertaining to user experience and content navigation. The increasing multitude of offerings, spanning music, podcasts, and now audiobooks, will continue to make the app feel cluttered. Contrastingly, competitors like Apple have allocated separate apps for various audio content forms, such as Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple Books, ensuring a streamlined and focused user interface. This segregation by Apple facilitates enhanced discoverability and organised content management for users, a model Spotify will never copy since they need everyone on one app.

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