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Spotify to expand into audiobooks with Findaway acquisition

Company aims to build on recent success by capitalising on a rapidly growing market

Spotify has announced it will acquire leading audiobook distributor Findaway to expand its portfolio of audio products available to Spotify subscribers.

The move marks the latest expansion for the music giant, arguably the most significant acquisition the company has made since it acquired Anchor and Gimlet in 2019 to bolster its podcast offering.

Findaway's technology is expected to accelerate Spotify's first foray into the growing audiobooks market and help scale its catalogue of books on the platform.

Spotify claimed the partnership will help drive new revenue streams available to publishers and authors, and work to remove current limitations faced by audio-based storytellers. The move is also thought to open up new audiences for publishers to reach, Spotify said.

In addition to offering audiobooks on the platform, Spotify also said it plans to bring its expertise in content personalisation and discovery to Findaway's library of distributed audiobooks - the largest currently in the market.

Spotify announced plans to innovate on Findaway's platform further to fine tune the format, delivery, and tools available to creators.

"It’s Spotify’s ambition to be the destination for all things audio both for listeners and creators," said Gustav Söderström, chief research and development officer at Spotify. "The acquisition of Findaway will accelerate Spotify’s presence in the audiobook space and will help us more quickly meet that ambition.

"We’re excited to combine Findaway’s team, best-in-class technology platform, and robust audiobook catalogue with Spotify’s expertise to revolutionise the audiobook space as we did with music and podcasts.”

The deal is expected to complete in Q4 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

"Together with Spotify we have the opportunity to innovate and democratise the audiobook ecosystem,” said Findaway Founder & CEO Mitch Kroll. “We founded Findaway with the recognition of the power of the spoken word through audiobooks and the unique opportunity to empower storytellers and connect them with listeners.

"We look forward to combining our leading technology tools and world-class team with the reach of Spotify’s platform to provide an enhanced audio experience for creators, publishers and listeners around the world,” he added.

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Spotify is anticipating strong growth in the audiobook market, and has increased its 2027 forecasted growth from $3.3 billion (£2.4 billion) to $15 billion (£11.2 billion).

Following Spotify's work with podcasts over the past two years, the company is now forecast to narrowly overtake Apple Podcasts for the first time, in terms of total listenership, by the end of 2021, according to eMarketer.

In an earning call earlier this year, Spotify also announced substantial growth in monthly active users (up 22% to 365 million), overall subscribers (up 20% to 165 million), and podcast ad revenue, which was up 627% at the end of Q2.

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