Talking to Billboard in the US, Ek hinted that lossles audio could form part of a higher-priced streaming subscription option on Spotify.
"Just like we’ve had deluxe edition of albums, everyone is thinking about how does that look like in a future world? Lossless music - is that a higher priced tier? Is that something that comes with deluxe editions? How should we package subscriptions to consumers? That’s a very big topic right now on the label side."
Spotify's official line - recently repeated to What Hi-Fi? when we asked whether CD-quality streaming would be coming to Spotify - has denied any plans for better quality audio.
"Premium users of Spotify can stream at a quality of 320 kbps, which is a universally accessible high-quality bit rate. We're always staying tuned to what our users want, but making changes to the bit rate Spotify streams at isn't something we have immediate plans for," the statement said.
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There's clearly no reason why both statements can't be true - and indeed Spotify confirmed to Gizmodo earlier this year that it was testing lossless audio. Ek's statement backs-up the idea that high-quality streaming is in the company's plans.
Spotify's streaming supremacy has been tested this year, certainly in more sonically-discerning circles, by the launch of CD-quality streaming services Qobuz and Tidal, plus Deezer Elite in the US. The CD-quality services charge £20/month as opposed to Spotify's £10/month for 320kbps. Could we see lossless audio on Spotify charged at a higher price? We wouldn't bet against it.
And we could soon be making the leap to high-res streaming, with the recent launch of Meridian's MQA format, which aims to squeeze high-quality files in to smaller sizes without any loss in quality, seemingly paving the way for high-res music streaming.
We expect to hear plenty more in 2015, perhaps starting with CES in January.