Sony Music launches its own audiobook app

The radio plays from the music company have long been available on Spotify & Co. With its own service, Sony now wants to score points with children in particular. Competitor Universal is also trying to do this.

The three question marks have been audible digitally for a long time - from now on also in an in-house Sony app.

“Audiobooks are particularly popular in Germany,” remarked Deezer boss Hans-Holger Albrecht to the FAZ in September last year. This fact had prompted the French streaming service to launch a separate audiobook app shortly before. A free additional offer for subscribers who, like Spotify’s standard offer, pay 9.99 euros per month and have a separate bookmark function.

The field is apparently so attractive that Sony Music is now offering its own streaming service for the first time – only for audio books. The music company benefits from the fact that the Europa label is home to various well-known radio plays such as the Three Question Marks, which according to Sony is the market leader in the radio play area with 54 percent.

Focus on children

“The high popularity of radio plays is simply unbroken in German-speaking countries and continues to offer strong growth potential through streaming”, Sony manager André Mühlhausen is quoted in the company’s announcement. “Ultimately, we don’t just see ourselves as a content provider, we want to offer everyone convenient and direct access to the European radio play world.” The “radio play player” is accordingly equipped with more than 1,800 radio plays from the label and is free of advertising. A subscription costs 5.99 euros per month.

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The European catalog has long been available on popular streaming services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify or Deezer. A Sony spokeswoman confirmed that this will not change. New releases would also continue to be audible there. In addition to the streaming services with their music catalogs and increasingly also podcasts, there are a number of pure audio book providers, above all Amazon’s Audible.

Universal and Lego work together

At Sony, one sees the attractiveness of its own offer in the fact that it addresses children in particular and refers to the “GfK Kids Report” among other things. According to this, 71 percent of sales of audio products for children were achieved in streaming in the past year. In addition, children have long been familiar with using tablets or smartphones.

Via the app, parents should be able to offer children a “protected space” only for child-friendly radio plays. So without, for example, pieces of music that you might consider unsuitable for children. In the iPhone version of its audiobook app, Deezer also offers a mode in which only “family-friendly content” can be selected. A similar variant can be found in the Spotify family subscription.

Sony competitor Universal Music also recently launched an app tailored for children. “Vidiyo” is the name of the offer that Universal is offering together with Lego. Audiobooks are not an issue here, the aim is primarily to address seven to ten year olds who can make Lego figures dance in the app – accompanied by music from Universal’s catalog.