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), 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, a number of Spotify employees aren't happy at what they see as Ek talking about an ethical issue in pure business terms.
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