Majority of Audiobook Listeners Say They Will Only Use Spotify If Authors Get Paid Fairly

Majority of Audiobook Listeners Say They Will Only Use Spotify If Authors Get Paid Fairly

New U.S. poll from Edison Research finds significant consumer concern around audiobook streaming offerings as well as negative impact on U.S. book sales

NEW YORK, June 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Coalition of Concerned Creators today announced results from a new U.S. audiobook consumer poll conducted by Edison Research, the leading digital audio research firm.

According to the results, audiobook consumers aren’t necessarily familiar with compensation models but are keenly aware that authors have little control over their royalties. When asked who was to blame for authors not being paid fairly for audiobooks, half of all audiobook consumers said the listening services, 40% said the publishers, and the remainder blamed either the authors or consumers.

Additionally, streaming offerings like Spotify are negatively impacting book sales. Among audiobook listeners who use Spotify for audiobooks, 42.3% say they have purchased fewer audiobooks overall since they began listening on Spotify. 

When asked about author compensation, 50% of audiobook listeners initially agreed they “will only listen to audiobooks through streaming audio services, such as Spotify or Apple Music, if you know authors are paid fairly for their work.” However, after hearing about concerns over audiobook compensation from streamers like Spotify – those percentages rose even further:

  • 56% of audiobook listeners say authors are being paid “not fairly at all” for audiobooks on these platforms;
  • 48.8% of audiobook listeners said these concerns made their opinion of streaming audio services like Spotify less favorable; and
  • 51.5% said they will only listen to streaming audio services like Spotify if they know authors are paid fairly for their work.

“Halfway through the survey, respondents were introduced to concerns regarding audiobook compensation. Respondents were told that there were recent claims of streaming audio services not being transparent and consistent in how they pay authors for audiobooks, with some publishers being paid on a per-audiobook basis, while other, smaller publishers and self-published authors being paid based on how much time consumers spend listening. These claims were pulled from sources including extensive media reports on this issue as well as public statements issued by professional author organizations, including the Author’s Guild and The Society of Authors,” said a spokesperson from Edison Research.

The Coalition of Concerned Creators said: “From our work, it continues to be abundantly clear that streaming services like Spotify deprioritize creator compensation in pursuit of corporate development and profit. However, we commissioned this survey to better understand where consumers stand and what behavior they expect of companies they financially support. Authors deserved to be compensated appropriately, and now it’s clear that there is a business case for it too.”

Additional Findings From The Survey: 

  • Consumers are concerned about the possibility of ads in books. 57.7% of audiobook listeners say that advertisements and messages within audiobooks would be “disruptive” or “very disruptive”.
  • Consumers believe upticks in fees or subscription charges should go toward paying authors. 69.3% agreed that if a streaming audio service charges additional fees to listen to audiobooks, those fees should go towards paying the author.
  • Publishers are taking the majority share of the compensation pie, which concerns consumers. Large publishers are perceived by consumers to make out the best in the audiobook industry, with 69% of audiobook consumers saying that large publishers are paid “very” or “somewhat” fairly for audiobooks.

“The poll confirmed that audiobook consumers find concerns over author compensation by audio streamers meaningful in their consumption decisions. After hearing about these concerns, the percentage of audiobook consumers who said authors were paid ‘not fairly at all’ nearly doubled,” said a spokesperson from Edison Research.

How The Consumer Poll Was Conducted
Edison Research conducted an online survey of 1,035 adults aged 18+ who listened to an audiobook in the last year. The study ran from April 26 to May 10, 2024, and the data was weighted to reflect the sex, age, ethnicity, and geography of the audiobook listener market established by Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2024 report.

About the Coalition of Concerned Creators 
The Coalition of Concerned Creators is a consortium of writers, musicians, literary agents, and creators concerned about audiobook streaming offerings on author royalties, the way books are written, and the literary industry more broadly. The organization is currently focused on author advocacy efforts and fair compensation as it relates to Spotify’s new audiobook offering.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients, including AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of their most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.

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SOURCE Coalition of Concerned Creators

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