Spotify to Acquire Audiobook Platform Findaway to bolster catalog

Spotify will acquire audiobook distribution company Findaway, in an attempt to balance its catalog and creator tools in a similar fashion to its podcast offerings, the company said on Thursday.

The company, based in Ohio, boasts a catalog of more than 325,000 titles, according to its website, having partnerships with Apple, Amazon, and other retail heavyweights, and also makes tools for audiobook creators.

Expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, Spotify declined to share the financial terms of the deal which is subject to regulatory review and approval. Findaway’s focus has been on bringing more audiobooks to listeners worldwide since it was founded in 2004.

While the statement by Findaway said “The deal would help it quickly scale its audiobook catalog” and create new opportunities for authors and publishers,” it remains unclear the way Spotify might integrate Findaway’s catalog into its own service.

“With this acquisition, the plan is to accelerate into the audiobooks space by expanding our platform,” said Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s head of Audiobooks.

He also elaborated that Spotify users are more likely going to other platforms to access audiobooks, and it wants to enable that consumption to take place with Spotify’s app itself.

That way, Spotify users will leverage the company’s new Open Access Platform technology (OAP) to confirm with existing credentials to access audiobooks from Findaway and other audiobook partners, like Storytel.

OAP offers producers the flexibility to establish their content the way they want and that works with their own business models, for it to be sold, in other words, users may introduce a range of new ways consumers could unlock and listen to audiobook content on Spotify going forward.

As such, the first integrations of OAP are expected to arrive early next year, Spotify said.

According to a research by Grand View Research, the audiobook industry is expected to grow from $3.3 billion as of 2020 to $15 billion by 2027.

“Together with Spotify we have the opportunity to innovate and democratize 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 highlighted.

It is worth mentioning that the purchase isn’t Spotify’s first venture into audiobooks, as the company has previously trialed with a number of celebrity-narrated public domain classics, and a Harry Potter audiobook at the start of coronavirus lockdowns in 2020. However, the acquisition indicates the streaming platform now has much greater hopes in the area.