While you probably listen mostly to music on Spotify, the music streaming giant has been exploring other non-music programming to cater to those who want to go beyond music. We’ve seen how podcasts have been given a special place right alongside albums and artists. Now it looks like they’re testing out another form of audio content – audiobooks. While we can see a few audiobooks here previously, they’re now adding more to their collection and using star power to capture listeners’ interest.
Spotify says this isn’t a major release just yet but is part of their many tests that they regularly to “to improve its user experience” as per The Hollywood Reporter. They are releasing a small collection of exclusive audiobooks, for now, to test out the waters and see if they will be able to generate enough interest from its user base and maybe take on the “giants”, including the Amazon-owned Audible.
Their initial release is made up of 9 audiobooks with the content itself part of the public domain but getting celebrities to read the books. The original recordings are of course exclusive to Spotify. The books and narrators are the following:
* Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, narrated by David Dobrik
* Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, narrated by Forest Whitaker
* The Awakening by Kate Chopin, narrated by Hillary Swank
* Persuasion by Jane Austen, narrated by Cynthia Erivo
* Cane by Toomer Crane, narrated by Audra McDonald
* Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, narrated by James Langton
* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, narrated by Sarah Coombs
* Passing by Nella Larsen, narrated by Bahni Turpin
* Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, narrated by Santino Fontana
Each audiobook is accompanied by a deep dive with Harvard professor Glenda Carpio in a series called Sitting with the Classics on Spotify with history and exploration of narratives and themes of the books. Spotify already has a few titles in its library, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with each chapter read by celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, David Beckham, and Dakota Fanning. But now it looks like the streaming platform will be expanding their library if this test proves successful.
In order to really compete with Audible though, they will have to monetize their audiobook titles. There have been reports that they will be monetizing podcasts through a paid subscription so let’s see how they will be able to do that as well with audiobooks.