Is Harry Potter exclusive a sign of Spotify audiobook plans?


Spotify doesn’t think exclusives are good… for music. Spoken-word content? That’s a different story: the streaming service has been eagerly striking exclusive deals with podcasters and investing heavily in its own original shows. Now audiobooks are joining the party. Well, a new all-star reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone isn’t strictly exclusive to Spotify, as the videos will be made available on J.K. Rowling’s official Wizarding World website.

The audio chapters will be exclusive to Spotify though, with 17 chapters to be released on a weekly basis, with narrators including David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Stephen Fry and Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.

This may simply be an opportunistic deal for Spotify, but we’re going to float the idea that audiobooks could be the company’s next big step into non-music audio.

Audiobooks have been on Spotify for a long time, we should note, but they haven’t really been pushed. One reason for that: Amazon’s Audible is much more dominant in the audiobooks world than, say, Apple Podcasts is in the podcasting industry.

We’ve talked to book publishers in the past who’ve outlined at length why Audible’s lock on the market has made it so difficult for rivals to challenge it. Could Spotify be the company to change that? And if so, what would that mean for its own business? Watch this space.

Eamonn Forde

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