Bulletins

Can audiobooks on Spotify be just as big as its podcasts?

Maybe Spotify's Findaway acquisition makes it too cluttered, but that could be exactly what the platform wants.

Spotify

Spotify acquired the audiobook platform Findaway.

Image: Spotify

Spotify's ambitions are clear: It wants you to listen to every imaginable kind of audio, all on its platform. That includes books, and so the company announced on Thursday that it has bought the audiobook platform Findaway for an undisclosed amount of money.


"We'll do for audiobooks what we've done for music & podcasts, building a better experience for listeners and a more equitable offering for creators," Michael Mignano, Spotify's head of talk, said in a tweet.

Spotify is building on the momentum from its podcasting business: a few weeks ago, the company said it has become the largest player in the space, with more podcast listeners than Apple Podcasts. Spotify expects to only go up from there, too. The number of podcasts on the platform grew by hundreds of thousands over the past year, and it's making changes — like an interactive feature for podcasters — to help it get bigger.

Spotify's logic behind the audiobook acquisition makes sense, though: It wants to be a place where you can listen to music, then tune into a podcast, then start a book, without ever needing to switch to a competitor like Apple. Or Amazon, with which Spotify is in increasingly direct competition. "We're going to be able to accelerate the addition of an audiobook catalog onto the platform so that users can effectively get all of the audio content that they want all on one platform," Nir Zicherman, head of audiobooks at Spotify, told The Verge.

But some may say Spotify's entry into audiobooks is … too much. Users have already complained that the app is too cluttered and complicated as it grows to contain new formats, and audiobooks are a completely different listening experience than songs or even podcast episodes. Plus, audiobook listeners are book lovers, and they likely already have their go-to platform for book listening while they're on a road trip or taking a walk. The question for Spotify will be whether it can introduce meaningfully new tools for listening and even creating podcasts, or if it's simply trying to build a better Audible.

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