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Spotify HiFi tier: CEO doesn't know when Spotify's hi-res streaming will launch

Spotify HiFi tier: CEO doesn't know when Spotify's hi-res streaming will launch
(Image credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/truespotify/comments/p2vsz7/heres_a_sneak_peek_at_the_upcoming_hifi/)

When will Spotify's long-promised HiFi tier finally launch? Don't ask Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, as he has admitted even he doesn't know.

Speaking on an earnings call to analysts and investors (via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)), Ek said that the tier's launch is being held up because of the licensing process. He didn't commit to any launch timeframe (not even confirming that the service would launch this year), only saying that Spotify was in "constant dialogue" with music labels about bringing the feature to market.

Spotify first announced the feature almost exactly a year ago, promising that it would launch later in 2021. Last month, it issued a statement saying it didn't "have timing details to share yet" (essentially confirming it had been delayed indefinitely). Ek's latest comments cement that, and say to users: don't hold your breath.

What's doubly embarrassing for Spotify is that since its initial announcement, both Apple Music and Amazon Music have rolled out hi-res tiers for no extra money, proving that you don't have to pay more for higher-quality music streaming.

It's not been a good week for Spotify. Ek also took to a company town hall to defend the streaming service's support for Joe Rogan, who has been accused of spreading Covid misinformation on the platform (prompting the defection of big names artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell). His defence? Spotify needs exclusives such as Rogan in order to differentiate from other audio streaming services, and so help its growth. According to The Verge (opens in new tab), a number of Spotify employees aren't happy at what they see as Ek talking about an ethical issue in pure business terms.

MORE:

We called it: Why I don't think Spotify HiFi is coming any time soon (and why it doesn’t matter)

With Apple and Amazon offering lossless streaming for no extra charge, what now for their rivals? Full analysis here

Master Spotify with 33 Spotify tips, tricks and features

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • Hifiman
    Apart from oil companies, most top companies from 50 years ago are now nowhere to be seen. At some point they all made a wrong decision(s) and met their downfall. I wonder if we are witnessing this now for Spotify.
    Reply
  • Thefizzlee
    I don't know about Apple music but I cannot hear any difference between the alleged lossless audio from prime music and spotify on highest quality. And before you go that that's my fault I definitely hear a big difference with tidal so I don't know what but in my experience prime music isn't really lossless audio. I do hope spotify will bring high res audio quickly, their system is simply the best out their
    Reply
  • manicm
    So, probably the wealthiest streaming company in the world cannot negotiate with labels, when Apple, Amazon and Tidal can?

    What's amiss in to this picture?
    Reply
  • manicm
    Thefizzlee said:
    I don't know about Apple music but I cannot hear any difference between the alleged lossless audio from prime music and spotify on highest quality. And before you go that that's my fault I definitely hear a big difference with tidal so I don't know what but in my experience prime music isn't really lossless audio. I do hope spotify will bring high res audio quickly, their system is simply the best out their

    I found that with Tidal too - their Hifi setting definitely sounds better than their High setting.
    Reply