Medium is hoping to sweeten the pot in order to get you to become a paying member. The publishing platform provider said that members will now be provided an audio version of every “exclusive, member-funded story” along with some additional selections chosen by the company’s editorial team. More than 50 stories are now available as audio versions, with more being added in the future.
After revealing it had an unsustainable business plan, Medium pivoted into a premium subscription service in March, charging members $5 per month for what it promised would be a better reading experience and content. “Media is broken. And we need to fix it,” claimed company chief executive Evan Williams at the time.
Some stories will be narrated by a professional voice actor (likely not Samuel L. Jackson, although that would be cool), while others will be done by the original authors themselves. This service is available on Medium’s site and mobile apps. “The most popular stories on Medium are often first-person perspectives, so our audio is designed to give you a direct, emotional version of the story with professionally recorded narrations by real people,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.
Members are being notified about this new feature in an email starting today.
There’s been some skepticism about Medium’s new business plan, but it’s a bit early to tell whether it’ll succeed or not. However, simply offering exclusive stories isn’t enough, and the company likely believes that an audio version of stories could be a good selling point for why you should be a member. Medium said that this is only the beginning of this feature and plans on releasing additional updates in the future.
“We’re excited to record many more stories over the coming months and to experiment with adding different types of audio content, supporting writers and publishers to upload their own narrations, and more,” the company said in an email.