The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is becoming even easier to access. Various celebrities, including Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry, and Eddie Redmayne, are taking turns recording the book’s 17 chapters on video with a chapter being released each week. The video will be available for free on harrypotterathome.com, and the audio will be accessible exclusively on Spotify. The first chapter, read by Radcliffe, went online today.
Other celebrity narrators include Dakota Fanning, Claudia Kim, David Beckham, and Noma Dumezweni. More stars announcements are coming soon, and chapters will be released through mid-summer. This is a particularly big get for Spotify because last month, Audible announced its exclusive streaming rights to Stephen Fry’s reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (The book is also available there in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese.) Spotify clearly needed its own content to compete.
This book reading is part of author J.K. Rowling’s effort to make her work easier to access during the pandemic. She and her team have loosened the licensing restrictions to allow teachers to read the books virtually to their students while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. There are some restrictions around this, however, with the main one being that teachers can only read the books on closed educational platforms like Google Classroom or Schoology, rather than public, commercial platforms like YouTube. Teachers are also encouraged to stick to the books exactly as they’re written.