Spotify has announced a new tier of Premium that it’ll offer its subscribers later this year: HiFi. The new, more expensive streaming option was announced at the company’s Stream On event and will take on competitors like Amazon Music and Tidal who have been offering hi-fi streaming for years.
Spotify HiFi, as the plan is named, will offer lossless audio in “select markets” so subscribers can get the most out the music they listen to. Details beyond “CD-quality, lossless audio” weren’t given at press time, but I assume we’ll learn about bitrates and other audio specs in the near future.
Lossless streaming will be available on all devices compatible with Spotify, including Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. It isn’t clear how much more Spotify HiFi will be compared to the regular Premium subscription, but that information will come in due time.
The news comes as competition in the hi-fi audio streaming space remains stagnant. The only two companies worth mentioning in this field are Amazon and Tidal who both have lossless music streaming services priced at $14.99/month and $19.99/month, respectively. It’s no secret that Spotify subscribers have wanted lossless audio for years, but it’s clearly not been a big enough reason for users to switch to Amazon Music or Tidal.
Now that the company will offer hi-fi for a few bucks extra every month, it’s challenging to envision what the future looks like for the other two competitors, particularly Tidal who’s entire business model rides on offering higher quality audio. Spotify’s user database is huge, with the company confirming it had over 144 million premium subscribers worldwide as of Q3 2020. That’s in contrast with Tidal’s somewhat embarrassing 3 million subscribers it reported last year.
Spotify could easily swallow up those subscribers the moment its HiFi plan launches. It’s always been much more popular than Tidal, and it’s yet another reason to stay away from the Jay Z-founded streaming service. Until Spotify HiFi launches, however, we can’t do anything more than speculate.