Earlier this year, Spotify announced that its Premium customers would have access to over 150,000 audiobooks. According to the press release, these Premium customers, including Plan Managers of Family and Duo accounts, would gain access to 15 hours of free audiobooks every month.
This time limit has presented an issue for some listeners. Even though Spotify customers were notified of the time limit via a pop-up on the app, some have found that they’ve reached the limit unexpectedly—making it so they have to wait until next month until they can finish their book.
One such Spotify user is TikTok creator Kristyn Shelby (@kristynshelby), who took to the video-sharing platform to recount her surprise at reaching the time limit. To hear her tell it, she was “tricked.”
“[I was] putting off reading this book because I was intimidated by how long it was, but I found it on Spotify and it said ‘included with Premium,’ so I was like, ‘oh, perfect, I could just listen to it,’” Shelby recalls. “So with like 10 hours left of this book, it just stops playing—and then I get this pop-up that says my listening hours aren’t gonna renew until next month and it says that I can purchase an audiobook top-up to pay for more hours.”
In the comments section, Shelby says that she missed the pop-up that contained the information about time limits. Still, many commenters noted that this limit could be better presented than with a one-time pop-up.
“I had this exact conversation with my coworkers! I was so very upset about it,” stated a commenter. “Like put a counter on the side so I know how long I have to listen.”
“People are calling it transparent since the 15 hours thing is in a pop up,” shared another. “Transparency would be # of hours left instead of ‘Included with Premium.’”
@kristynshelby is this a big deal? no, but i’m still bitter lmao … i dont mind paying i just wish it was more upfront #spotify #spotifyaudiobooks #booktok #audiobook #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Kristyn Shelby
Others questioned the need for a limit altogether.
“Shouldn’t premium be premium? Like include everything?” asked a user.
“There shouldnt be a limit,” declared a second. “Why does everything still charge when we already have premium. That was supposed to be the whole point.”
For those who are seeking information about their remaining listening hours, one user offered a solution: “To check your hours: go to ‘settings’ then ‘account’ then your plan and ‘track your included hours.’”
However, for those interested in obtaining even more audiobooks, TikTok commenters advised simply using the resources available online and through one’s local library.
“Download Libby and use your library card. You get to listen to audiobooks for free,” wrote a commenter.
“Check YouTube for your book! Same thing happened too me with a different book. Found it on YouTube for free,” explained a further TikToker.
Update 7:05pm CT, Dec. 13: In a phone call with the Daily Dot, a Spotify spokesperson noted that users can top-up their audiobook hours within the app. Additionally, there are methods for tracking hours, which are listed on Spotify’s website. The spokesperson further noted that 15 hours is typically two audiobooks, and that audiobooks and music are built on different business models, which means that users will be served these types of content differently.
That said, the spokesperson also stated that the offering is evolving, and that the company is continually responding to user feedback in order to improve their audiobook service.
The Daily Dot reached out to Shelby via TikTok comment.