File under substantiated rumours.
“I opened the Android app today and received a “special offer since I was in the app” to upgrade to Spotify Hi-Fi. It was an extra $7.50 a month for “hi-fi quality lossless” on top of the regular premium features. I closed that out but I was wondering if anyone else had got it since I can’t find anything about it online.”
That’s user rhiley alerting fellow Reddit users of Spotify’s in-app offer for a lossless streaming service, one without Spotify Premium’s 320kbps lossy Ogg Vorbis compression, but for an additional US$7.50/month. In other words, CD quality streaming for a monthly fee.
Twitter user Cody Kloepfer was given a similar in-app offer but for a different price: an additional US$5/month.
Per this report from The Verge, the Spotify Hifi tier doesn’t yet appear to be online and functional. Rather, the streaming company is testing selected customers’ price sensitivity with in-app offers.
Still, the signs are good.
If Spotify Hifi comes to fruition, its impact on rival services could be sizeable, especially if Spotify’s greater industry clout – 43 million subscribers – allows it to offer a lossless tier for less than the US$20/month asked by Tidal (3? million subscribers) or Deezer (7 million subscribers).
Furthermore, many listeners prefer Spotify’s UX, both on smart and desktop devices, to that of Tidal and Deezer. Others point to Spotify’s broader selection of more niche material over its competitors. Spotify Hifi could see some of Tidal and Deezer’s audiophile-centric users make the switch to Spotify.
Or perhaps Spotify Hifi will grow the lossless pie for all players instead. The conversation surrounding such a service sends a message to the mainstream that quality matters.
As for whether or not Spotify can return lossless audio to a large portion of the mass market, many listeners with entry-level hardware quite understandably find 320kbps lossy streams to sound good enough.
Then there’s lossless audio’s greater impact on monthly download quotas. For the average Joe forgoing a home internet connection in favour of his smartphone, the average 6-8Gb/month will be eaten up a good deal faster by Spotify Hifi than an existing Spotify Premium subscription.
Negativity aside, lossless Spotify streaming is bigger news than MQA coming to Tidal or another hi-res streaming service’s inception. Spotify aren’t a fringe player. They are firmly rooted in the mainstream’s consciousness and better sound quality for the mainstream is a big, big deal.
Further information: The Verge