Spotify Premium Users Can Now Listen to Audiobooks for Free
After hiking its prices earlier this year, Spotify is rolling out a fairly impressive upgrade for Premium customers. Now, paid subscribers can listen to up to 15 hours of audiobook content per month for free. Should users surpass that, they can apparently purchase an additional 10 hours of audiobook streaming for $12.99. To be clear, this new audiobook feature comes in addition to the music and podcast streaming that Spotify already offers.
In my view, this Spotify update could be a big blow to Amazon-owned Audible. That’s because Audible’s Premium Plus service — which grants customers 1 audiobook credit per month along with some other perks — comes at a cost of $14.95 a month. Compare that to Spotify Premium’s $10.99 a month price tag and, suddenly, the former doesn’t look as hot. Then again, it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. With Audible, customers retain ownership of their audiobooks, allowing them to listen again and again. Meanwhile, if Spotify users wanted to revisit a title, they’d need to use more of their allotted listening hours (or they can purchase the book a la carte). But, in another potential point in Spotify’s column, 15 hours a month likely amounts to more than a single book.
As someone who subscribes to Audible Premium Plus as well as Spotify Premium, I was excited to see what this new feature was all about. Unfortunately, I did hit a bit of a snag. After looking at a few audiobooks and only seeing an option to buy, I did some poking around to see what could be the matter. That’s when I noticed that, on Spotify’s Premium plans page, there’s a key detail I was unaware of. Since we have a Duo Premium plan (which essentially gives us two accounts for a discounted price), only the “plan manager” gains the audiobook feature. So, in our case, that means my wife can use this feature while I’m left out.
Even with this hiccup, if we wanted to switch to two separate Premium accounts, we’d still be saving money versus Audible. Of course, with this Spotify feature still in its infancy, it’s hard to gauge how the inventory of both services will compare. After all, I have seen some books listed as Audible Exclusives in the past, so I wonder how common that actually is. And, while a spot check (no pun intended) resulted in my finding some recent books I’ve purchased on Audible available on Spotify, I can’t say how extensive the back catalog is.
Comparisons aside, I think this audiobook feature is an easy win for Spotify users. While I have yet to actually try the service for myself, just having the option (via my wife’s account, I guess) excites me. And, if it does allow me to eventually part with my Audible subscription, then even better.