Again in February 2021, Spotify made a daring promise to roll out lossless music streaming earlier than the yr was out. Quick ahead greater than a yr later, and there’s nonetheless no signal of Spotify HiFi.
So, what’s the deal? Spotify has been frustratingly tight-lipped concerning the destiny of Spotify HiFi, however the firm has let slip a number of particulars concerning the lacking service. In the meantime, latest rumors means that Spotify HiFi should see the sunshine of day, and maybe quickly.
Right here’s what we all know–and don’t know–about when Spotify HiFi would possibly lastly arrive.
What’s Spotify HiFi?
First introduced again in February 2021, Spotify HiFi was described as a approach for Spotify Premium customers to “improve their sound high quality” to a “CD-quality, lossless audio format.”
Usually, “CD-quality” means streaming audio encoded with 16-bit depth and a 44.1kHz sampling fee.
However the important thing time period right here is “lossless,” which implies that the audio stream comprises precisely the identical sonic element as its supply.
The primary promoting level right here is that you just’d be listening to the music within the exact approach the artist meant–and certainly, Spotify posted a video by which Billie Eilish and Finneas extolled the virtues of lossless audio streaming.
Because it stands, Spotify streams audio at 320Kbps within the “lossy” Ogg Vorbis format, which suggests the audio stream has been compressed and is dropping a good quantity of element within the curiosity of conserving bandwidth.
When will Spotify HiFi come out?
The quick reply is that we don’t know when Spotify HiFi will arrive. Nevertheless, some latest chatter suggests it could land quickly.
In line with a publish on Reddit, a longtime Spotify consumer who had lately switched to Apple Music claimed they obtained a survey detailed a brand new plan–“Spotify Platinum”–that boasts HiFi, in addition to different options comparable to “Studio Sound,” a “Headphone Tuner,” “Audio Insights,” “Library Professional,” “Playlist Professional,” and “limited-ad” podcasts, all for an additional cost (extra on that in a second).
The Redditor stated the survey requested if they’d change again to Spotify “within the nest 30 days” for “one in every of [those] options.”
Thrilling stuff–if it’s true.
There have been different, earlier hints that Spotify HiFi remains to be percolating, together with a “HiFi” icon noticed within the Spotify app again in Might 2021 and a leaked “Hello, HiFi” video that made the rounds a number of months later.
Following months of silence concerning the difficulty, Spotify lastly did communicate up about Spotify HiFi at the start of 2022, however the vaguely worded assertion supplied scant particulars:
We all know that HiFi high quality audio is vital to you. We really feel the identical, and we’re excited to ship a Spotify HiFi expertise to Premium customers within the future. However we don’t have timing particulars to share but. We are going to after all replace you right here after we can.
We reached out to Spotify shortly after that announcement, however a rep would solely say that the corporate did “not have something additional to share on HiFi past the thrill for the longer term launch.”
Extra lately, Spotify HiFi went unmentioned through the streamer’s second-quarter earnings name in late July.
We’ve since despatched follow-up inquiries, and we’ll replace this story when and if we hear again.
We’ll additionally preserve our ears peeled throughout Spotify’s subsequent quarterly earnings name, slated for October 25.
How a lot will Spotify HiFi price?
Once more, we don’t know for certain, however in accordance with the “Spotify Platinum” rumor detailed above, the purported survey pegged the value at $19.99 a month, or double the $9.99/month Spotify Particular person plan. Ouch.
Whereas Spotify has by no means come out and stated that HiFi would price further, the wording of its preliminary announcement–“Premium subscribers in choose markets will be capable to improve their sound high quality to Spotify HiFi”–means that HiFi is both an add-on or included in a brand new plan, such because the potential Spotify Platinum tier.
It’s additionally value noting that Spotify examined CD-quality audio streams as early as 2017, and at the moment, it charged an additional $7.50 a month for the privilege.
When was Spotify HiFi supposed to come back out?
Spotify by no means gave a exact launch date for Spotify HiFi, however throughout its 2021 announcement, it stated the characteristic would arrive “later this yr” in “choose” markets.
After all, it’s truthful to say that Spotify HiFi missed its launch window by a reasonably large margin.
Why hasn’t Spotify HiFi come out but?
Good query. Again in February, Spotify CEO Daniel Ed blamed “licensing” points when requested concerning the destiny of Spotify HiFi throughout an organization earnings name. Right here’s the precise quote, as reported by TechCrunch:
“Lots of the options that we discuss and particularly that’s associated to music finally ends up into licensing,” Ek advised traders. “So I can’t actually announce any specifics on this aside from to say that we’re in fixed dialogue with our companions to convey this to market.”
There’s one more reason that Spotify may need delayed Spotify HiFi: as a result of it obtained caught flat-footed by Apple and Amazon.
Simply three months after the Spotify HiFi announcement, Amazon and Apple each introduced (individually, however on the identical day) that they’d start providing lossless, high-resolution, and spatial audio music tracks, all for no further cost. (Apple was fully new to lossless and spatial audio streaming, whereas Amazon had beforehand been charging further for lossless and spatial tracks.)
Following the Amazon and Apple bulletins, the prospect of paying further (almost definitely) for less than CD-quality music and (most likely) no spatial audio started to lose its luster, so maybe Spotify selected to retreat and regroup.
Will Spotify HiFi provide high-resolution music streaming?
Loads of Spotify’s streaming music rivals, together with Amazon Music Limitless, Apple Music, Qobuz, and Tidal, provide “high-resolution” music streaming–that’s, audio that’s encoded at a better decision and sampling fee than CD-quality 16-bit/44.1kHz audio tracks.
Most trade varieties agree that 24-bit/48kHz is the edge for high-resolution audio, and people streamers that help it ship high-res streams all the best way as much as 24-bit/192kHz.
However Spotify by no means stated something about high-resolution audio in its preliminary Spotify HiFi announcement; all it promised was “CD-quality” audio, which qualifies as “hi-fi” however not “hi-res.”
As for the “Spotify Platinum” rumors, the purported survey makes point out of a “Studio Sound” characteristic along with HiFi. Might “Studio Sound” imply hi-res music? Hmmm.
In any occasion, it’s a matter of heated debate whether or not the human ear can truly inform the distinction between CD-quality and high-resolution audio–or for that matter, whether or not most people can discern the distinction between lossy and lossless. We gained’t dive into lossy-vs.-lossless rabbit gap right here.
Will Spotify HiFi provide spatial audio?
As with high-resolution audio, Spotify by no means stated something about spatial audio–that’s, music tracks which have been blended with 3D encompass results–in its Spotify HiFi announcement.
In the meantime, Spotify opponents Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Tidal do provide spatial audio tracks in such codecs as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Actuality Audio.
Once more, Spotify would possibly even have spatial audio plans within the works–and maybe that’s what the “Studio Sound” and/or “Headphone Tuner” options from the Spotify Platinum rumors are all about.
Will Spotify HiFi get cancelled?
Effectively, something’s potential, and Spotify has been identified to nix high-profile options that by no means fairly took off.
For instance, Spotify lately pulled the plug on Automobile Factor, a small touchscreen show that you may set up on a automotive dashboard for on-the-road Spotify streaming.
For its half, Spotify stated that whereas Automobile Factor “labored as meant,” it selected to halt manufacturing of the $80 system attributable to “product demand and provide chain points,” amongst different elements.
Spotify additionally has a historical past of testing, teasing, and rolling out new options that later disappear–and even reappear–with out rationalization.
However whereas Spotify appears keen to cancel options that aren’t working, it additionally likes to experiment, and Spotify HiFi may very well be a venture that Spotify is content material to tinker with indefinitely.
For what it’s value, the official Spotify HiFi announcement remains to be reside on Spotify’s web site.
Up to date on October 14, 2022 so as to add new developments and evaluation.