Spotify buys audio tech company Findaway to bolster audiobooks business

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Spotify made a big push on Thursday to have more audiobooks on its platform by buying US audio technology company Findaway to restore its podcast success.

Findaway, which has partnerships with audiobook publishers such as Amazon Audible, Apple iBooks, Google, and Storytel, offers a global audiobook catalog. It also has Voices to help authors self-publish.

“This is the first big step … what we want to achieve is that Spotify consumers can buy and listen to any audiobook on Spotify,” said Gustav Söderström, Chief Research & Development Officer, in an interview.

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

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

The company, which already has an association with the Swedish audiobook streaming group Storytel, to enable its subscribers to listen to audiobooks, had also launched an open access platform for publishers to stream their content.

“We know from a survey that many of our users who have listened to podcasts about real crime have also bought audiobooks about real crime,” said Söderström. “This is great potential for publishers because we think we have a user base that is a really good target for audiobooks as well.”

The total monthly active users of Spotify rose in the last quarter by 19 percent to 381 million with a turnover of around 2.5 billion euros (around 21,278 billion rupees).

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

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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