Spotify announced that it will be launching its new Spotify HiFi CD quality lossless audio tier later in the year. Although there were very few specifics given, the company did say that high-definition audio was one of the most requested features that they’ve received.
Audio quality on Spotify currently tops out at 320kbps, so a lossless audio tier would be quite welcome to frequent users (hopefully they’ll be able to hear the difference). One of the things that I find fascinating is that many services promote CD quality as the end-all, while others like Tidal, Amazon Music and Qobuz have evolved past that and offer a true high definition 96kHz/24 bit experience.
Spotify provided no details as to pricing, but the standard for a hi-def tier for other platforms has been $19.99 per month. Having more users in a higher margin tier would be a boon to the company’s bottom line at a time when it likes to have Wall Street’s full attention.
There’s also been no announcement as to how artists can begin to submit files for the new tier. If the resolution is only CD quality, artists and labels are already submitting at 44.1/16 quality, so there should be no difference in the process. If the tier is truly “high-definition,” then the process will no doubt change in order to ingest larger file sizes and different resolutions. Of course, how an artist gets paid for streams in a higher tier has not yet been announced either.
Spotify HiFi may be a game changer in that it might finally get Apple Music to offer higher resolution audio as standard. The company has been collecting hi-res files from labels for more than a decade, but hasn’t put that enormous advantage to much use yet.
Of note is that the company also announced that it has upgraded its availability footprint quite a bit, as it says it’s expanding to 85 new worldwide markets, across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.