Spotify’s new audiobook plan, which grants premium subscribers 15 hours of audiobook access per month with no extra charge, has launched in the US. The same program launched in the UK and Australia in October. The company writes in a release that subscribers now have access to a catalog that includes more than 200,000 audiobooks. As PL previously noted, the big change for the industry is Spotify’s effort to pay creators based on customers’ listening time rather than per title, though payment terms remain opaque. The company began offering audiobooks just over a year ago, on a pay-per-title basis.
Amazon’s KDP has invited some authors to test creating audiobooks through “virtual voice.” Those titles “will be clearly labeled” for customers. They note, “We plan to grow the beta over time and will share updates in the coming months as we have additional information.” In this case Amazon is following the field rather than leading. Apple Books started providing digital narration at the beginning of the year, and Google Play Books did so in April 2022. Ingram began using the technology in late 2021, and Storytel launched their initiative this summer.
Actress Michelle Williams will narrate Britney Spears’ audiobook, THE WOMAN IN ME, to be released on Oct. 24. Spears will narrate the book’s introduction. In a release, Spears said, “This book has been a labor of love and all the emotions that come with it. Reliving everything has been exciting, heart-wrenching, and emotional, to say the least. For those reasons, I will only be reading a small part of my audiobook. I am so grateful to the amazing Michelle Williams for reading the rest of it.” “I stand with Britney,” Williams said.
Music streaming platform Spotify is rolling out a new audiobooks program, as first suggested in the WSJ last month (and signalled at the London Book Fair in April), giving subscribers 15 hours of audiobooks a month at no extra charge. The program launches today in the UK and Australia, and will expand to the US later this year, the company said in a presentation on Tuesday, with other territories added soon. If listeners exceed 15 hours they can buy “top-ups” in 10 hour increments for $10.99. In the presentation on Tuesday, Spotify ceo Daniel Ek said that subscribers will have […]
Project Gutenberg has converted approximately 5,000 book files into audiobooks using synthetic voice. Working in concert with MIT and Microsoft, the project aimed to refine producing machine-generated audio conversions at scale. The researchers write: “Our system uses new advances in neural text-to-speech, emotion recognition, custom voice cloning, and distributed computing to create engaging and lifelike audiobooks…. We believe that this work has the potential to greatly improve the accessibility and availability of audiobooks.” In a paper on the project, they explain: “Different audiobooks require different reading styles. Nonfiction works benefit from a clear and neutral voice while fictional works with […]
Abrams has signed signed a multi-year audiobook deal with RBMedia, with the first titles launching in spring 2024. RBMedia has produced Abrams titles in the past including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney and Unprotected by Billy Porter, which won an Audie, but this deal makes them the exclusive audio producer for the publisher. Abrams president and ceo Mary McAveney said, “Abrams is committed to developing multi-platform media experiences for our audiences of booklovers. Audio is a critical piece in our continued development, connecting our narrative publishing with millions of audio consumers. We couldn’t be in better hands.” Troy Juliar, chief content […]