Spotify Introduces a New Audiobooks Service for Free Users at Just $9.99 per Month

After adding 15 hours of free audiobooks listening to its subscription plan late last year, Spotify today is introducing a $9.99 per month option that will allow its free users to also access its audiobooks collection. With the addition, free Spotify users will able to continue to stream music and podcasts via its ad-supported service, but pay to listen to audiobooks without having to buy a Spotify subscription. However, the move could allow Spotify to upsell audiobooks to customers who aren’t as interested in its music service, or who regularly use another app for that. 15 hours is fairly generous, as it often encompasses more listening time than one audiobook alone, if not two shorter books. The company today also offered an update on the interest that free users have for audiobooks, noting that since launching audiobooks for its Premium subscribers, it’s seen a 45% increase in free users searching for and interacting with audiobook content each day.

After expanding its subscription plan with 15 hours of complimentary audiobook listening last year, Spotify has launched a new option for its free users to access its extensive collection of over 200,000 titles. On Friday, Spotify introduced its “Audiobooks Access Tier,” providing an opportunity for U.S. customers to stream 15 hours of audio content from their catalog.

This offering allows free users to continue enjoying music and podcasts through Spotify’s ad-supported service, but now they can also pay to listen to audiobooks without the need for a subscription.

The new plan comes in at a cost of $9.99 per month, only a dollar less than Spotify’s individual Premium subscription starting at $10.99 per month. Despite the minimal savings, this move could entice non-music focused customers to explore audiobooks and potentially upsell them to a Premium subscription. It also adds more appeal to the Premium service overall.

Furthermore, this puts Spotify in direct competition with Audible, the audiobook giant owned by Amazon. However, Spotify’s approach differs by offering a set number of listening hours for a monthly fee, rather than access to its entire collection for a flat price. 15 hours is a generous amount, often exceeding the length of a single audiobook or even two shorter books.

Spotify also provided an update on the interest from free users in audiobooks. Since the launch of audiobooks for Premium subscribers, there has been a 45% increase in daily searches and interactions with audiobook content by free users.

In its most recent quarter, Spotify experienced the second largest increase in users in its company history, with 600 million monthly active users and 236 million paid subscribers – a 15% increase from last year, despite adjusting prices in the U.S. from $9.99 to $10.99 per month. The company also claimed to be the second top provider of audiobooks, right after Audible. It’s still too early to determine the impact of this service on subscriber growth and other aspects of the business.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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