How to get your audiobook on Spotify and earn 40% author royalties with streaming specialist launching into sector on sale-only basis

How do you get your audiobook on to Spotify now that the streaming giant has launched into audiobooks with more than 300,000 titles which are only available for sale rather than through a subscription?

Findaway to distribute audiobooks to Spotify

The most direct way to get your audiobook on to Spotify is to use specialist distributor Findaway Voices, which was bought by Spotify in a deal announced late last year which concluded in June 2022.

Findaway was set up in 2005 and has become a leading player in digital audiobook distribution and is a self-publishing platform for independent authors with Findaway Voices.

  • If you have an existing audiobook and the files are ready to publish, then you can set up a Findaway account, create a project and publish.
  • If you have never created an audiobook before, you can use a free Findaway Voices author account and choose between a managed production where you are helped through the process or a self-managed production on Marketplace.
  • If you have already published an audiobook with Findaway, then your audiobook is automatically opted in to Spotify distribution unless you have opted out.
  • If you want to get out of exclusivity with ACX, Findaway is offering a request letter for you to copy. Then you need to set up an account, create a project, and publish.

Independent distributors

There are other ways to get your audiobooks on to Spotify, including through distributors Draft2digital and PublishDrive, which both feature Findaway as a partner. You’ll need to check with these firms regarding the eventual payment you’ll end up with from Spotify distribution.

Net royalties

You might be confused if you check out the Findaway Voices website and spot that ‘you can keep 80% of the royalties of every sale’. This doesn’t mean, however, 80% of the sale price, but instead 80% of the amount remaining after the retailer has taken their 50% cut of the sale price, with Findaway then taking a 20% distribution fee on the remaining amount.

The company gives an example of an audiobook priced at $10 — 50% ($5) goes to the retailer, leaving a net royalty of $5, of which 20% ($1) goes to Findaway Voices, leaving the author/publisher with $4, effectively being a 40% share of the audiobook retail price.

Spotify audiobooks available in the US and UK

Spotify audiobooks were initially only available to customers in the US and the titles are only available for purchase (or a la carte as they like to call it). You can’t actually buy an audiobook using the Spotify app as it will switch you through to a web page for the buy and then add the audiobook to your library.

Audiobooks through Spotify are now available in the UK since November.

Audible’s ACX and exclusivity deals

If you have published audiobooks through ACX with an exclusive deal then you might find it difficult to switch to non-exclusive. ACX is the audiobook production and distribution arm of Audible which is owned by Amazon.

The Contracts & Agreements section of the ACX website says, ‘Changing the distribution rights to your audiobook depends on the payment option you have chosen. If the audiobook was completed as a pay-for-production deal, the distribution rights can be changed from exclusive to non-exclusive after it has been live in the store for one year. If this audiobook is in a royalty share deal, then the agreement can never be changed.’

ACX pays 40% royalties for exclusive distribution compared with 25% for non-exclusive distribution. Audible has the right to distribute your audiobook for seven years.