Spotify is extending its Audiobooks for Premium feature to Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand on April 9. The service launched in the U.S., U.K., and Australia last October, and allows users 15 hours of monthly audiobook listening time with a paid subscription. In announcing the expansion, Spotify added that the total number of audiobook titles available on the platform has reached 250,000 titles, of which more than 150,000 have been listened to by users.

Spotify, which is based in Sweden, has some 602 million users, and is considered by many to be the world’s most popular audio streaming service, services from China notwithstanding. Its entry into audiobooks has had an impact on the overall audiobook market in English language countries.

During a recent panel at the London Book Fair, Owen Smith, Spotify's head of audiobooks, credited Spotify with nearly doubling Bookstat's growth in the market last year. After Spotify introduced audiobook streaming in October, Bookstat's predicted 14% growth jumped to 28%. Smith explained that Spotify's intention was to bring new listeners into the market, and the statistical growth suggested they had been successful in doing so. He also drew parallels between the growth of the podcast industry and the potential for audiobooks, stating: "I think there's like a rich suite of behaviors that we've learned from podcasts that we think can really apply to audiobooks too."

Spotify's entry into the audiobook market has not been without criticism. Earlier this month, the company faced controversy over its new terms for the Findaway Voices service for independent authors, which some felt overstepped. Although Spotify quickly offered a clarification, authors remain vigilant. One group, calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Creators, bought several billboards around Olympia London during the London Book Fair last month, with the billboards reading: "Don't let Spotify do to authors what it did to musicians."

Payments to publishers are triggered after approximately 10% of a book is listened to, several publishers with contracts have told PW. In a press release announcing the expansion, Spotify said that it has “paid out tens of millions to audiobook publishers” to date.