Spotify has paid audiobook publishers “tens of millions” since launching audiobooks in premium in the UK, Australia and the US last year, with Britney Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me (Gallery UK) the most listened to on the platform.
A spokesperson for the Swedish tech giant said users have listened to more than 90,000 individual titles from the platform’s catalogue of more than 200,000 audiobooks, and that the catalogue continues to grow month after month.
Spotify said: “It’s early days, but we’re incredibly excited about what we’re seeing since launching Audiobooks in Premium in the UK, Australia and the US three months ago. The results show that the introduction of audiobooks is driving a meaningful incremental revenue stream for the publishing community. We feel good about future growth and will keep working closely with authors, agents and publishers to share learnings as we get further along in this journey together.”
It stressed the data it has shared “underscores our commitment to incrementally growing the pie for authors and the publishing industry”.
All of the major publishers entered into new limited streaming deals with Spotify last October, including Penguin Random House, which had previously been the biggest and most vociferously anti-subscription. Although publishers broadly welcomed the move, some agents and authors expressed concern about the lack of detail released about the deals and how they may affect author income.
The Bookseller has contacted Spears’ publisher, Simon & Schuster, for comment about how well the memoir has performed on the platform, with Spotify saying it was “outpacing projected sales”.
Spotify said: “We are seeing exponential sales growth from our big publishers and strong interest in titles from our Voices authors. For instance, Brianna West’s The Mountain is You has been a runaway hit garnering hundreds of thousands in sales for this quarter, nearly a 3,000% increase in sales since joining our premium catalogue.”
Today’s data chimes with a strong audiobook market. There had been fears that audiobook sales had been plateauing after many years of major growth however there was still a lift of 6% in volume and 12% in value in the first seven months of 2023, according to Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey.
However Spotify’s expansion into books has come at a challenging time for the company, which announced a 17% cut to its worldwide workforce in December 2023 to reduce costs.