We have been reporting for over two years about the impending launch of Spotify Hi-Fi. The rumor mill is rife with reports this morning that the arrival of Spotify’s Hi-Fi streaming service is imminent. Which means December 2023.
Spotify’s new Premium tier will apparently include a lossless or hi-res option for subscribers. It will also not be launching in the United States or Canada first.
To sweeten the deal, “Premium” tier subscribers will also receive expanded access to audiobooks, which will either mean a specific number of hours free per month or a specific number of titles. There will be an option to purchase more; the new feature will be launched outside of the U.S. and Canadian market first. Spotify is doing this to placate investors who wish to see greater revenue from the streaming giant.
We also don’t know how much more all of this might cost consumers; Apple Music and Amazon Music took Spotify by surprise when they launched their lossless platforms and kept the pricing at current levels.
Let’s find out what the story is.
The Spotify HiFi Backstory
Spotify is the largest music streaming service in the world, with 350 million users and 150 million paid subscribers. Their recent Q2 financial report also delivered some good news regarding revenue, but not everyone agrees that Spotify is as strong as it needs to be.
Tip: Apple Music is number 2, Amazon Music is number 3, Pandora is number 5, and TIDAL is number 8 — unfortunately, Qobuz is not in the top ten (yet). More details.
It was first reported that Spotify was going to offer a “HiFi” music plan back in February of 2021. Anticipation was high, but nothing materialized in mid or late 2021, and nothing in 2022. With 2023 quickly approaching, there is still no Spotify HiFi music listening option.
Also, during the time period that Spotify has lagged in offering HiFi music options, that option has been offered by both Apple Music and Amazon Music, and high-res streaming services such as TIDAL and Qobuz have also attracted serious music lovers.
That brings us to the latest unofficial news about Spotify’s HiFi plan.
According to an anecdotal report from a Spotify user canceling their subscription, a survey popped up during the cancellation process that indicated that a possible Spotify Platinum tier that includes HiFi music access is being considered that will cost $19.99 per month.
As part of the survey, the soon-to-be non-Spotify user asked if they would consider returning to Spotify if a new Platinum plan was offered with the following features:
- HiFi music
- Studio Sound
- Headphone Tuner
- Audio Insights
- Library Pro
- Playlist Pro
- Limited ad-supported Spotify podcasts
If the anecdotal account was accurate, Spotify is planning to offer premium services for twice the price of its current Premium subscription plan (and possibly soon – but we have heard that part before).
If all of the above features supposedly listed in the survey are actually offered in a Spotify Platinum plan, it would be more features than has been mentioned so far. However, at $19.99 per month, it would be twice as expensive as Apple Music and Amazon Music.
It’s really disappointing that almost two years after its initial announcement, the promised HiFi music plan doesn’t seem to be close to reality. It seems that it might be getting lost with other services that Spotify is planning to offer together. While the other services sound interesting, especially the Headphone Tuner and Studio Sound (how is this different from HiFi Music?), the “services” can just be added in a series of successive updates.
Just give us HiFi music already!
NOTE: At this point, even if Spotify offers up a HiFi component to its streaming service, it may be too little, too late, as TikTok could end up upsetting the entire music streaming landscape with its planned TikTok Music App.
This is definitely a continuing story…