Spotify buys audio tech firm Findaway to bolster audiobook business

Spotify on Thursday made a big push to have more audiobooks on its platform by buying US-based audio tech company Findway as it tries to recreate its success with podcasts.

FindAway, which has partnerships with audiobook publishers such as Amazon’s Audible, Apple iBooks, Google, and Storytel, offers a global audio book catalogue. It also has Voices, which helps authors self-publish.

Chief R&D officer Gustav Soderstrom said in an interview, “This is the first big step … what we want to achieve for Spotify consumers to be able to buy and listen to any audio book on Spotify.”

Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.

Spotify is following a playbook similar to its podcast business. It forayed into podcasts in 2018, boosting it with a string of acquisitions and is expected to overtake Apple as the largest podcast provider by analysts by the end of the year, with more than 3 million titles.

The company, which already has a tie-up with Swedish audiobook streaming group Storytel, to allow its customers to listen to audiobooks, also launched an open access platform for publishers to stream their content.

“We know from a survey that many of our users who listened to true crime podcasts also went on to purchase audiobooks about true crime,” Soderstrom said. “It’s a huge potential for publishers, because we think we have a user base that’s a really good target for audiobooks as well.”

Spotify’s total monthly active users grew 19 percent to 381 million in the latest quarter with revenues of around 2.5 billion euros (about Rs 21,278 crore).

According to research firm Omdia, the global audiobook market is expected to grow from $4 billion (approximately Rs 29,776 crore) in 2020 to $9.3 billion (approximately Rs 69,231 crore) by 2026.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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