Spotify Hi-Fi rollout finally confirmed for later this year

posted on Wednesday, 24th February 2021 by Steve May

Hi-fi  Streaming 

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Spotify has finally confirmed a high resolution music tier, to compete with rival offerings from Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz and Deezer. At its online showcase, Stream On, the service took the wraps off Spotify HiFi.

Due to begin later this year, Premium subscribers in ‘select markets’ will be able to upgrade their sound quality to Spotify HiFi at an as yet unpublished premium.

Spotify says higher quality music streaming is consistently one of the most requested new features by its users.

But how hi-res will Spotify Hi-Fi be? Spotify says its HiFi stream will deliver music in ‘CD-quality, lossless audio format’ both to a smartphone app and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers - the company says it is working with ‘some of the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers.’

Last year, Futuresource Consulting published consumer research that found that over 40 per cent of streaming users interviewed wanted better audio quality from their streaming service. It was by far the feature that gathered the most interest and confirmed that there is indeed a desire from consumers to stream music in higher resolution.

Futuresource analyst Alexandre Jornord says that hurdles remain before High-Res can really take off. He notes on a Futuresource blog : “This might come as a surprise to many but music content delivered in High-Res to streaming services is not that common. With the exception of the three major record companies (Universal, Warner, Sony) and a few independent labels, the majority of the content delivered to streaming services in 2020 is in CD quality (16bit) and not High-Res (24bit).”

The current size of the High-Res music catalogue is thought to be under 3 million songs on most High-Res streaming services. This in part has been down to the two leading streaming players, Spotify and Apple Music, failing to incentivise artists to deliver their content in higher resolution than CD quality.

During Stream On, the company also confirmed that it had signed the Russo Brothers (Avengers: endgame) to an exclusive content deal, and revealed that it would stream its first DC Batman narrative podcast in surround sound.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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