Spotify tests more audiobooks as part of non-music programming

While you likely primarily listen 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 have seen podcasts have been given a special place alongside albums and artists. Now it appears that they are testing another form of audio content: audiobooks. While we may see some audiobooks here before, they are now adding more to their collection and using star power to capture listeners’ interest.

Spotify says this isn’t a major release yet, but it’s part of their many tests that regularly “improve your user experience.” according to The Hollywood Reporter. They’re releasing a small collection of exclusive audiobooks, for now, to test the waters and see if they’ll be able to generate enough interest from their user base and perhaps take on the “giants,” including the Amazon-owned Audible.

Its initial release consists of 9 audiobooks with the content itself as 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 as follows:

* Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, narrated by David Dobrik
* Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave, narrated by Forest Whitaker
* The awakening of Kate Chopin, narrated by Hillary Swank
* Persuasion by Jane Austen, narrated by Cynthia Erivo
* Cane from Toomer Crane, narrated by Audra McDonald
* Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, narrated by James Langton
* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, narrated by Sarah Coombs
* Nella Larsen Pass, narrated by Bahni Turpin
* Red Badge of Courage de Stephen Crane, narrado por 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 the history and exploration of the books’ narratives and themes. Spotify already has a few titles in its library, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’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 expand its library if this test is successful.

However, to really compete with Audible, 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 with audiobooks as well.

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