You may have forked out for a Spotify subscription to listen to Joe Rogan’s blockbuster podcast, before shelling out spare change to access an audiobook from the platform. Now, the music streaming giant is betting you’ll be tempted to splurge on pricey learning courses in everything from building a start-up to becoming a DJ.

Spotify has launched learning courses on its platform on a trial basis in the U.K. as part of its latest strategy to diversify beyond music streaming.

The courses appear to be inspired by MasterClass—where famous faces divulge industry secrets—and video-learning platforms like EdEx, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy. 

Diary of a CEO host Steven Bartlett leads a course on starting and scaling a “multi-million pound business.” Take That singer Gary Barlow, meanwhile, hosts a 29-lesson course on songwriting.

Both courses will set you back a sizeable £48.90 ($61.81).

Those sums, though, look like a relative bargain, compared with the price of music lessons. Introductory courses on piano and acoustic guitar are going for £92.90 ($117.44).

The list of courses gets increasingly zany as you go on. Users can pay £35 ($44) to access a class on dog body language, or pay a steeper fee of £71.90 ($90.85), to teach your dog to find antlers during shed season. The latter course lasts just 30 minutes.

Courses are operating on a “freemium” model, with the first few classes of each course offered for free before users are asked to cough up to receive the rest. 

It’s not clear how Spotify has structured payouts for these courses, for example, whether they are operating a revenue-sharing model with creators, or whether they have paid specific high-profile creators an upfront sum to make content. 

Spotify’s latest money-making plan

A move into video courses is the latest sign of Spotify diversifying its offering beyond its low-margin music streaming business, where the platform pays record labels exponential sums for music licensing. 

Spotify first tried to diversify with podcasting, paying massive sums for big-ticket exclusives from Joe Rogan, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 

However, the group has experienced significant teething pains in that division and has since cut loose its expensive stars while reigning in its exclusivity deal with Rogan. 

Spotify maintains this was part of a strategy to bring in listeners they didn’t have on the platform before, rather than being the most lucrative model, and CEO Daniel Ek expects the podcast division to make a profit this year. 

The company has also leaned into audiobooks, offering a similar freemium model where several audiobooks come free alongside a premium subscription, while others require payment.

Spotify thinks the number of its users engaging with learning-focused podcasts and audiobooks means the market is ripe for growth.

“Many of our users engage with podcasts and audiobooks on a daily basis for their learning needs, and we believe this highly engaged community will be interested in accessing and purchasing quality content from video course creators,” said Babar Zafar, VP of product development at Spotify.

Apple woes

The music streamer has historically faced issues marketing these paid add-on features on its app, thanks to Apple commission fees that have spiraled into a years-long regulatory battle.

Spotify has avoided giving users the option to pay for subscriptions and make in-app purchases on its iOS app, in order to avoid paying Apple a 30% commission on those purchases. Instead, customers have had to redirect to a web browser at the behest of the streaming platform.

This is planned to change in the EU following the launch of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), where Spotify plans to reconfigure its app to more easily market add-on features to users. 

Daniel Ek said there was a “significant upside” for the group thanks to an enhanced ability to sell its features directly to customers through the app.  

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