Does Spotify Sell Audiobooks?

The audiobook market is expanding every year, showing a steady annual growth of about 30%. Of course, such a promising direction could not go unnoticed by the giants of streaming music. In particular, the Swedish music streaming service Spotify began to pay special attention to the development of the audiobook segment.

The main competitor in the global and, in particular, the North American market for Spotify has become the music streaming service Apple Music. However, such rivalry has been observed everywhere for many years. So far, Apple Music has been the market leader in the audiobook distribution segment.

Ever since Apple launched the audiobook feature, Spotify says it has been forbidden by Apple to tell users where and how to buy books. In addition, the company doesn’t even list how much they cost in the app, nor does it allow the service to send emails to users with instructions on how to purchase them.

Audiobooks are available in the app, but when the user tries to buy the book, they are surprised by the warning: “Do you want to listen? You cannot purchase audiobooks within the app. We know it’s not perfect.” On the other hand, on Android, you can press a button and receive an email with instructions.

The fact is, if Spotify were to give in and allow audiobooks to be purchased through the app, it would have to cut 30% of the cost for Apple. The streaming giant wisely designed its own store, where all purchases must be made, but users cannot be redirected – this, of course, is against the rules of the App Store.

Spotify said it was frustrated with the imposition of requirements and hired lawyers to make sure it followed the app store’s rules. According to Daniel Ek, since the audiobook feature was launched, Apple would have rejected the app update three or four times.

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For its part, Apple Music says the streaming service currently has no issues with reading apps that add content from audiobooks, link users to websites to sign up for services, or communicate with outside customers about alternative purchase options. And Spotify’s offerings were rejected for failing to follow recommendations to enable in-app explicit messaging to direct users to make digital purchases outside of the app.

The fight between Spotify and Apple has been going on for nearly eight years now, and it’s not just about the same markets that both companies cover, like music streaming and audiobooks.

The dissatisfaction between competitors, in fact, concerns the restrictions imposed by the Cupertino giant, including the requirement that applications use its payment system – giving it a percentage of 30% of the transaction value.

During the presentation of the company’s latest financial report, Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek was asked about his open stance towards Tim Cook’s company. In response, he said that he considered it absurd that his complaint, filed several years ago, was not resolved.

It’s worth recalling that back in 2019, Swedish music streaming service Spotify created a website to explain how competition in the App Store would be hurt.

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