Spotify launches literary audiobooks as 'test' of non-music streaming

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A small collection of new audiobook recordings of classic novels have been added to Spotify in what the company says is a test run.

Spotify has added a series of literary classic audiobooks
Spotify has added a series of literary classic audiobooks


Following the apparent success of its exclusive podcasts, Spotify has added to its range of non-music content with a new series of audiobooks. The nine titles are all literary classics, and all feature new readings recorded especially for the streaming service.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the audiobooks that have been released are:

  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin, read by Hilary Swank/li>
  • Cane by Jean Troomer, read by Audra McDonald

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read by David Dobrik

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, read by James Langton

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, read by Sarah Coombs

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an America Slave, by Frederick Douglass, read by Forest Whitaker

  • Passing by Nella Larsen, read by Bahni Turpin

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen, read by Cynthia Erivo

  • Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, read by Santino Fontana

Alongside this set of new audiobooks, Spotify has also commissioned a documentary series called "Sitting with the Classics on Spotify." Glenda Carpio, professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, examines the histories and the themes of the novels.

Apple Music contains very many titles that bill themselves as being audiobooks, but they tend to be short-form audio guides. Apple Books, on the other hand, contains an immense library of full-length audio books, but they are exclusively for purchase, not streaming.

Spotify has previously included key audio titles such as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," but this new venture marks its first experiment with promoting audiobooks. It potentially brings the service into competition with Audible, the audiobook company owned by Amazon.

As Spotify looks to expand on its non-music streaming content, Apple is reportedly aiming to do the same. Recent reports suggest that Apple is also planning an exclusive range of podcasts as part of a subscription service.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Good idea, but they need books other than what people were forced to read in high school.

    Why not start with Game of Thrones... or something.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Good idea, but they need books other than what people were forced to read in high school.

    Why not start with Game of Thrones... or something.
    Agree.

    They do have some Sherlock Holmes, which is a terrific read! 
    The joke of not being able to play an album without Shuffle as default on an iPhone is hopefully not the case ;-)
    Otherwise the mystery would be solved before Sherlock even knew about the case!! 
  • Reply 3 of 5
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 828member
    Good idea, but they need books other than what people were forced to read in high school.

    Why not start with Game of Thrones... or something.
    Because these are all public domain works. Which means that the copyright has expired and they are therefore free to copy and reproduce. This is just a test by Spotify to gauge demand. Why spend millions unless they are sure they can compete in the market?
    edited January 26 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Japhey said:
    Good idea, but they need books other than what people were forced to read in high school.

    Why not start with Game of Thrones... or something.
    Because these are all public domain works. Which means that the copyright has expired and they are therefore free to copy and reproduce. This is just a test by Spotify to gauge demand. Why spend millions unless they are sure they can compete in the market?
    This fellow gets it. However, Spotify is missing out on a real opportunity here by not including the #1 and #2 books of all time (both public domain):

    1. The Bible
    2. Pilgrim's Progress

    Just sayin' ...
  • Reply 5 of 5
    They can't compete with audible unless they raise the subscription. I don't know why publishing houses will allow their catalogs for free streaming when they make much more money with the current model. But it seems they are going the way of copyright expired books.
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