In February 2021, Spotify announced that lossless, CD-quality music streaming was coming to its Premium subscribers. The timeline was “during 2021”. Since then, things have been quiet.
Now, however, one of Spotify’s CEOs, Gustav Söderström, has spoken out and told The Verge that lossless sound quality is still part of the plan.
“Yes, it will come” and Spotify HiFi “will come at some point” were among the statements.
Quiet since 2021
After Spotify announced in 2021 that a HiFi version was on the way, both Apple and Amazon suddenly offered lossless audio on their streaming services at no extra cost to users. That put a spanner in the works for Spotify’s plans. Tidal used to charge extra for CD quality, but has in the meantime chosen to include that in their normal Premium subscription.
“We’re going to do it in a way that makes sense for us and our listeners,” Söderström told The Verge on their Decoder podcast. “The market has changed and we’ve had to adapt. It also has to make sense from a cost point of view,” he said.
Has been ready for over a year
The boss also reported that Spotify has actually been ready for the transition for over a year from a technical standpoint, and that Spotify employees already have access to the service’s entire music catalogue in lossless audio quality.
So what’s the roadblock? Presumably, they’re still figuring out how to sell the service to users at a premium, in a market where several competitors don’t charge extra for the same thing. For example, Spotify could combine it with Dolby Atmos, premium podcast access, and other services in an upcoming Platinum subscription. There has been a rumour that this would cost $20 a month.
Who would pay extra for Spotify HiFi?
Will customers be willing to pay extra for a Spotify Premium subscription? That’s probably what the company is also asking itself, which is why this offer has been dragging on. Apple Music, for example, has both lossless and 360 audio, and soon a classical music service that will be included in their standard subscription.