Spotify CFO Paul Vogel says the music streaming platform will begin testing and trialing audiobooks “very soon.” The Spotify executive said the company plans to continue to expand its portfolio of products, as it sees opportunities for growth in both its established markets and its developing markets.
Vogel made the comments on Wednesday at the 2022 Evercore ISI 2nd Annual Technology, Media & Telcom Conference.
“It’s going to come out reasonably soon, but I would say don’t expect that to be the last change or improvement we make on the audiobooks offering,” Vogel said regarding the launch timing for audiobooks.
Vogel said the company sees its foray into audiobooks as similar to its entrance into the podcasts market. He noted that Spotify was able to offer users an enhanced UI for listening to podcasts and that the company will do the same for audiobooks.
“When it comes to podcasting, we gave you a better experience,” Vogel said. “There was no reason for you to switch from whatever you used for podcasts to Spotify, unless we created an environment where it was better and easier for you. And we think there are similar opportunities in audiobooks where we can really innovate and create something that is different.”
Spotify believes that there are lots of ways it can add audiobooks to its platform and create an environment that can rival other audiobook players, which includes the likes of Amazon’s Audible, Audiobooks.com, Scribd and more. Vogel also sees the addition of audiobooks on Spotify as a growth opportunity for publishers and authors. He also sees the upcoming launch as a way to help grow the books and audiobooks market in general.
Vogel’s comments come as Spotify has been inching toward an audiobook product over the past year. Last fall, the company acquired audiobook distributor Findaway for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Spotify said it planned to build on Findaway’s existing investments in the audio industry.
It’s worth noting that Spotify has previously signaled its interest in audiobooks, as it began testing the format in January 2021 with several classics, including “Frankenstein,” “Jane Eyre,” “Persuasion” and others. It had also previously offered the first “Harry Potter” book with chapters narrated by celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, David Beckham and Dakota Fanning. In addition, Spotify announced a partnership with audiobook platform Storytel in May 2021 to allow Spotify users to access their audiobooks through Spotify’s app.
During its second Investor Day in June, the company suggested it could leverage its existing machine learning models to grow the audiobooks category on its service by way of personalized recommendations as it has done with music and podcasts. Spotify has also noted that it expects the addition of audiobooks to contribute to the increase of its user base’s lifetime value, which is a metric it says is now more important to measuring the health of its business than in earlier days when it focused more on user growth.
On another note, Vogel touted the streaming platform’s new ticketing product as a way to boost monetization. Last month, the company launched a new site to sell fans tickets to live gigs directly from its platform instead of redirecting users to partners like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. During yesterday’s conference, Vogel said the product has been a hit with artists and that the company sees the product as a way to boost average revenue per user.
He also said that when people purchase tickets through Spotify, they tend to listen to more of that artist’s music on Spotify. However, Vogel did not disclose how much money Spotify is making from its ticket-selling product.
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