In the first quarter of 2022, Spotify had 182 million users. Spotify is the biggest streaming platform out there and undeniably a household name, but – when it comes to HiFi and CD-quality streaming – they’re actually lagging behind a little.
Their initial plans to offer lossless streaming that’d rival the likes of Apple Music and Tidal were announced near the start of 2021, yet we’re still waiting to hear more. What’s the hold-up? What will the platform look like when released, and will it be worth it for listeners?
The technical demands are, of course, massive. It can’t be easy to transfer one of the biggest libraries of music ever in a lossless format. Fans had been speculating that the platform would be launched over a year ago, especially when some screenshots showing a potential new logo leaked in mid-2021.
When questioned on the official Spotify Forum, a representative reached out with the following statement:
"We know that HiFi quality audio is important to you. We feel the same, and we’re excited to deliver a Spotify HiFi experience to Premium users in the future. But we don’t have timing details to share yet. We will of course update you here when we can."
What Will Spotify HiFi Offer?
Of course, the clarity and fidelity will be the main differences to users. Spotify has announced that they will offer “CD-quality lossless audio,” which will greatly exceed the current Spotify limitations of streaming at 320kbps in MP3.
Files will definitely be in a lossless format like FLAC, and they may even be available in 96-kHz/24-bit resolution. Users will also be able to pipe their music to devices through Spotify Connect, meaning that files are transferred over your network rather than using Bluetooth.
What Will Spotify HiFi Cost?
Another unknown, but it is possible that Spotify will introduce a new tier above Premium to offer this higher-quality streaming. Some have speculated that the cost will jump to $14.99 per month or even higher, but there’s nothing concrete in this.
It is also possible that Spotify HiFi will come as a standard part of their Premium service, in a similar way to Apple Music, which did not increase their pricing in order to offer a lossless catalog of audio.
Will Spotify HiFi Be Worth It?
It is possible that these delays are a case of ironing out the issues. It is also possible that Spotify is looking to offer something unique, and take the world of streaming beyond what competitors can do. An offering above 96-kHz/24-bit audio would be a gamechanger, but nobody knows if this is on the agenda.
In terms of audible differences, users with a quality home setup that can take advantage of lossless audio streaming will undeniably hear the difference when able to stream lossless audio. If the price increase stays modest (or if Spotify tries to keep the pricing model the same), then it is likely that Spotify HiFi will be extremely popular.