Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström has reportedly told The Verge (opens in new tab) that offering lossless audio is still the plan, though don't hold your breath for an imminent launch.
In his recent interview with the US publication, Söderström said that "we are going to do it"; that Spotify HiFi “is coming at some point”. But he couldn't be specific with timeframes at this stage. The company seems to still be navigating a way in which it is happy to deliver lossless CD-quality audio on its service, having initially announced in February 2021 that a higher-quality Spotify HiFi tier would launch by the end of that year. Its plans were undoubtedly scuppered when Apple Music, and then Amazon Music, pipped it to the post by delivering lossless quality that May – and, importantly, at no extra cost for subscribers.
"We’re going to do it in a way where it makes sense for us and for our listeners," Söderström told The Verge on its Decoder show. “The industry changed and we had to adapt.” The report also quotes Söderström stating that the delivery of Spotify HiFi needs to work for the company "from a cost perspective as well", though he would not comment on any label agreements or rivals' activities in the industry.
The publication goes on to report that Spotify HiFi has indeed been ready to go for over a year, suggesting that Spotify employees already have access to the service's entire catalogue in lossless quality. It seems, then, that the ongoing delay is likely due to Spotify still trying to pin down a way to package lossless quality within a more expensive tier that, to make it more appealing, also bundles in further benefits such as Dolby Atmos Music support and premium podcast and library features. This would substantiate previous claims last year that Spotify HiFi streaming could be part of a new $20 'Platinum' tier with extras.
If a premium tier double the monthly fee of the current Premium subscription were to materialise, it would need to make those extras pretty desirable to have any chance of enticing Apple Music subscribers, which have lossless and spatial audio and soon a fully-fledged (and probably class-leading) classical music experience for £10.99 / $10.99 / AU$12.99 per month.
While Söderström's latest comments don't bring us any nearer to a Spotify HiFi release date, it is reassuring to know that lossless audio is still on the table, following murmurs in the hi-fi and technology industries in recent months that it perhaps would not materialise after all.
Read all you need to know about the upcoming Spotify HiFi tier
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Apple Music Classical will launch on 28th March with hi-res and spatial audio