Streaming giant Spotify is expanding its library of 50 million songs to include audiobooks and has released nine new public-domain classics narrated by celebrities including Hilary Swank and Forest Whitaker.
The nine audiobooks, in English, were posted online Friday, including The Awakening of American Writer Kate Chopin, read by Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank, and The Life of Frederick Douglass, American Slave, autobiography of the former American slave turned activist, narrated by Forest Whitaker.
Spotify has chose to step into the world of audiobooks, and it's starting things off with nine books you may have heard of narrated by some names you may recognize. However, it appears that Spotify's exclusive audiobooks are available in select regions.
And in August, the group began recruiting a head of audiobooks, a sign of ambition in the market dominated by the Amazon-owned Audible.
The platform has also uploaded an audio analysis series entitled 'Sitting with the Classics, ' hosted by Harvard literature professor Glenda Carpio.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek chose to add audiobooks to its portfolio after seeing their popularity among users in Germany back in 2019.
The company says that the collection is a test to see how audiobooks perform on its platform, but if it proves to be successful, Spotify could see Audiobooks as its next front now that it is deep in the podcast wars.
The nine audiobooks that are now available on Spotify are all part of the public domain, but the original recordings are exclusive to the streaming platform.
Last year, the company launched a version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which was read by a star-studded cast of narrators, including Harry Potter film star Daniel Radcliffe.
Though the nine-title rollout appears created to gauge fan interest in audiobooks, as part of Spotify's wider foray into spoken entertainment, it bears mentioning that third parties had already released all manner of public-domain audiobooks via the service.