Smart Streaming: 10 Non-Music Things to Listen to (for Free!) on Spotify

updated May 3, 2019
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I always make a playlist before embarking on a road trip, every time forgetting that I tire of listening to music somewhere around mile 15. But do you know what does hold my attention on a long drive? Spoken word. And there’s a lot of really great literature, language and comedy out there to stream anytime you want it.

If you’re looking for something new to listen to on the road – or at your desk, or at the gym – here are ten genres available on Spotify that you might not think to tap into. (Spotify, by the way, is free on desktop, but you need a premium account to listen on a smartphone.)

The links below will launch your Spotify app, if you have one installed on the computer or device you’re browsing from.


They might not be new releases, but I’m sure you can find something you’d love to listen to.
Where to start: The classic titles in this audiobooks playlist.

Short Stories

When you’re short on time but eager to hear a good tale.
Where to start: The scary stories here, some classics here and mythology here.

Fairy Tales

Perfect for bedtime with the little ones.
Where to start: This Once Upon a Time playlist.

Famous Speeches

Some you know practically by heart, and others you’ve never heard before.
Where to start: This Presidential Voices playlist and this one of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Language Lessons

You can learn a foreign language practically anywhere with your headphones in.
Where to start: With Spanish, French, Italian or German.

Stand-Up Comedy

My first foray into spoken word on Spotify, and probably still my favorite for long road trips.
Where to start: The Comedy Top Tracks playlist.


Like your favorite song lyrics, minus the music.
Where to start: With A Hipster’s Guide to Poetry and Modern Poetry.

Guided Meditation

A little spiritual guidance to start (or end) your day.
Where to start: Why, the Guided Meditation playlist, of course.

Self-Help Techniques

Want to learn to speak better in public or just train a cat? There’s a track for that.
Where to start: The Self-Help Gems playlist.

Vintage Radio Dramas

If you like the Serial podcast, dive in with a real vintage radio serial.
Where to start: With Radio Crime Dramas or Sci-Fi Radio Dramas.

Looking for more? Open Spotify and select Browse > Genres & Moods, and scroll way down to find more stand-up acts in “Comedy” and more of everything else under “Word.”