The audiobook and podcasting markets are growing far faster than the overall media and entertainment market, with the US predicted to grow at a 20-25% rate for the next few years. At the forefront of this rise in popularity has been Audible, the leading provider of audio storytelling. Their latest developments see the platform diversifying its offering of high-quality audio content to engage current and new listeners. Audible is breaking ground in ways you may not have realised; here are some areas that show how they are evolving their offer beyond audiobooks.
Broadening its appeal through podcasts and music
- Audible is bulking up its podcast offering and making its app a place where its listeners can fulfil all their podcast needs. Through the expansion of its Original comedy offering and launch of its Premium Plus membership, meaning that on top of your monthly credit you also have unlimited access to a number of exclusive podcasts, Amazon Originals and audiobooks. In addition, they’ve added 100,000 free podcasts that are already available on other streaming platforms without the need for a subscription.
- Marrying their renowned storytelling format with music, their Words + Music series provides audiences with an intimate glimpse into how beloved music was made and how these artists inspire and entertain fans. Artists so far include Patti Smith, Smokey Robinson and Alice Cooper amongst many others.
Delivering on moments and use cases
- Recent partnerships with travel and navigation companies are showing Audible’s clear intent to make audio listening even more accessible for audiences. Joining Waze’s Audio Player program, Audible offers drivers the option to tap the music note icon to easily select Audible as their audio player. Whilst a collaboration with Tripadvisor sees an exchange of membership benefits for both Tripadvisor Plus and Audible members.
Championing burgeoning talent
- Audible’s recently announced production and development deals with creative production companies to showcase real stories such as Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures, and Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions, for many of whom will be their first major production deal.
Supporting other creative sectors
- After a turbulent period during the pandemic, Audible is proving its credentials by assisting struggling industries such as theatre. Over the past 18 months, Audible Theater employed over 300 artists, commissioned new works from more than 25 playwrights and released more than 40 projects to a global audience featuring world premieres from award-winning playwrights and performances from world-famous talent.
Showcasing diversity and spotlighting inclusive content
- Audible has slated a huge number of deals with Black creatives, such as Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit, Lebron James’s The Springhill Company, and Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Productions, all to create storytelling experiences that spark critical conversations and amplify Black voices.
- Hear My Story is a curated collection of content from diverse storytellers. Stories range from disability awareness, Latinx experiences, Native American heritage and body positivity.
How it compares to competitors
Across the sector, some of Audible’s competitors are also making strides to diversify in similar areas. Stitcher continues to acquire top talent and networks in the battle of who can draw the most ears. Apple launched its subscription service for Podcasts, a new global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favourite creators alongside millions of free shows. And only this October Spotify launched Spotify: Mic Check, which draws parallels to Audible’s Words + Music series, connecting artists with fans through intimate conversations with musicians and podcasters from around the world. Spotify has also expanded into the audiobook market with their recent partnership with Storytel, who offer a fixed-rate subscription fee for full unlimited access to their library. This contrasts with Audible’s credit-based business model, seeing Spotify attempt to entice a diverse, new audience on their platform who haven’t yet experienced audiobooks.
We’ll be watching with interest to see if Audible’s latest innovations spike a new trend in the spoken-word audio sphere, any further audio developments and how competitors can match up.