Spotify Acquires Audiobook Platform Findaway

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Spotify has been working to expand its streaming reach beyond music, investing millions into the growing podcast market and recently partnering with Shopify, to feature artists’ merchandise directly on their profiles. Now Spotify is moving onto audiobooks.

Spotify has shared its plans to acquire the audiobook distributor, Findaway. Founded in 2004, Findaway is an audiobook distribution platform that connects audiobook creators with selling partners including Apple, Google, Scribd, Audible, Nook, and many more. The company also operates Findaway Voice, a platform that pairs authors with professional narrators for companies like Audioworks and Playaway. 

Spotify has yet to share the financial terms of the deal but plans to bring in Findaway’s full team of about 150 employees.  Spotify’s Chief Research & Development Officer, Gustav Söderström announced, “We’re excited to combine Findaway’s team, best-in-class technology platform, and robust audiobook catalog with Spotify’s expertise to revolutionize the audiobook space as we did with music and podcasts.”

This expansion into the audiobook industry would make Spotify a commercial bookseller and an audiobook publisher, a first for the music streaming platform. 

Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s head of Audiobooks explained, “With this acquisition, the plan is to accelerate into the audiobooks space by expanding our platform.”  Zicherman added, “As an industry, we think there’s massive potential and growth ahead for audiobooks. Combining Spotify and Findaway and their amazing team and their amazing tech, the idea is to realize that future faster than we ever could as separate companies.”

This is a strategic move by Spotify, as the audiobook industry is predicted to grow from $3.3 billion to $15 billion over the next five years. 


Spotify Partners With Shopify

Photo Via Spotify

On Wednesday Spotify announced its partnership with Shopify, the e-commerce platform for online stores and retail. Artists will now be able to list merchandise and apparel for fans directly on their Spotify profiles. Global artists were already able to feature a link to their Shopify account to their Spotify profile but now users are able to view featured products directly on the streaming platform. According to Spotify, he new feature is currently still in its “beta” phase and only Spotify users in the the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K will able to view and purchase merchandise on the platform.

Spotify is offering several packages for artists linking their Shopify accounts to profiles. Packages range form $29/month for a basic package, to $299/month for the most advanced package which includes enhanced marketing reports. Spotify is offering a free 90 day trial for all artists linking their accounts for the first time.

Camille Hearst, head of Spotify for Artists, explained in a statement, “For many fans, Spotify is the primary way they interact with an artists’ music, and we are excited to give artists a new way to capitalize on that moment. The integration of Shopify’s powerful backend for powering commerce presents a significant step forward in our efforts to help artists maximize additional revenue streams and give them agency over their careers.”

The new Shopify feature offers inventory management technologies including automatically removing out-of-stock items from artists’ profile, instantly adding new products, offering print-on-demand services, and connecting artists with merchandise-fulfillment partners. The integration could offer additional revenue for artists without an establish merchandise website as well as encourage artists to create Shopify accounts.

Spotify use During Pandemic has Soared

Spotify usage has completely been derailed from the usual statistics. Obviously, spotify usage in cars have dropped because of the Stay-at-Home order. But Spotify usage at home on T.V. or game consoles have soared, reaching an increase of over 50% of usual number.

From their data, Spotify has found that everyday usage seems like a weekend. In the mornings, people are constantly streaming music on the apps that would often only happen more on the weekends.

More Spotify usage has been happening around their family during cooking, chores, family time, and relaxing at home with their numbers doubling. Spotify descriptions such as “chill” or “instrumental” have also seen an increase. This is most likely because an ambient sound is looked for while performing activities with the family.

More US consumers are seen to be using music as a stress reliever according to surveys. Spotify is proud of the fact that they are able to continue providing service with little disruption during this time of chaos.

Opposite of Spotify usage in the US, Italy and Spain has seen a decrease in streams.

People cancelling their subscriptions have said there reason for cancelling was due to the pandemic. They were also said to have renew their subscriptions when economic balance is restored.

Spotify has reached 130 million paid subscriptions, which is above forecasted numbers. But ad-supported revenue has been below forecasted numbers as a result of Covid-19.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, said the company is in better position because the company relies less on revenue derived from advertisements.

Spotify has also began investing more into podcasts which has seen a tremendous leap this year, especially due to the Coronavirus.

Rewound: The App That Can Turn Your I-Phone into an I-Pod Classic

Rewound is a basic music player app that can be found in the App Store of Apple. This app incorporates customization skins that can visually convert an I-Phone into an I-Pod classic.

Part of what makes the app so great is that it synchronizes with an Apple Music library, and includes haptic feedback, which allows it to not only look like an iPod, but sound like one too.  Rewound’s developer, Louis Anslow of Rethought agency, took a year to create the app, of which he claims to have made it with the intent of insinuating some I-Pod nostalgia. Rewound only suports Apple music most, but Anslow claims that it should be able to support Spotify in the future.

“It is an experimental project exploring the blurring lines between the digital and physical world, Edgeless displays with haptic feedback can become any device you wish. Rewound lets users morph their iPhone into a retro 2000s era MP3 player — whatever brand or model they preferred.”

I think apps like this one are great as they can be used to educate and inform of older technology products. For instance, younger individuals who have never used an I-Pod classic, could use this to experience the interface of an apple product which came before their I-Phones.

Tool on Top

Tool’s “Fear Inoculum” debuted at No. 1 with the equivalent of 270,000 sales in the United States.

In today’s music environment, the charts are topped with the same music year after year. A mix of pop music from Taylor Swift or a new album from Rhianna, the formula stays the same for the most part but that changed with the release of Tool’s new album “Fear Inoculum”. The first album in 13 years from the rock and roll band has seen them over take the number one spot from Taylor Swift’s album “Lover”.  

Tool’s new album also marked a new venture for the band. After years of not using streaming services or any other kind of digital platform, moved to digital means.By releasing their entire discography online at the same time as their new album has created a media spectacle that the billboard can not look away from. “Fear Inoculum” came in after just one week with 270,000 sales in the US with 88,000 of them being super deluxe editions that include a small 4 inch HD display that shows never before seen footage of the band. A new exciting twist on the already incredibly popular deluxe edition sales. The album saw 160,000 downloads and 27.6 million streams of their songs. Although these numbers are not as big as pop or hip hop streaming numbers they are a huge increase in the rock and roll market. This increase in streams shows that rock and roll can still bring it, even in 2019.