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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Spotify HiFi remains to be MIA after three years, and now so is my subscription

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I used to be actually hoping I wouldn’t need to do this again. Final yr, it appeared like there was no cause to consider Spotify would ever roll out its long-delayed HiFi lossless streaming characteristic, which was introduced in 2021 after which by no means talked about once more. However then, one of many firm’s co-presidents kept hope alive, telling my colleague Alex Heath “we’re going to do it.”

That was in March 2023. And now right here we discover ourselves, three years and someday after Spotify HiFi’s buzzy original announcement, and nonetheless nothing. Like at all times, there are indicators that the corporate is constant to work on HiFi — though it’s unlikely to be known as that anymore. And in contrast to rival companies, you’re seemingly going to need to pay much more for it, each time it truly arrives.

The present presumption is that high-resolution and lossless streaming can be packaged into an upcoming, dearer “Supremium” tier that may embrace a slew of different unique perks; we’ve even seen Spotify’s branding for the plan. Many individuals continually hammer on the purpose that it’s exhausting for the typical listener to inform any distinction between lossless audio and the compressed music that Spotify is already offering. So the corporate clearly understands that it must piece collectively a way more compelling bundle for a higher-priced subscription to have any shot at success.

None of that actually solutions the overarching query, although: what the hell’s taking so lengthy? It’s believed that Spotify was caught completely flat-footed when Apple and Amazon each began giving prospects higher-fidelity audio at no further value, and that its personal offers with labels didn’t make it financially viable for the main streaming music service to do the identical. Not like its opponents, Spotify doesn’t produce other divisions to assist recoup the price of an aggressive play like that, which I utterly perceive. However I’ve acquired to consider that lossless audio has been factored into any offers that the corporate has agreed upon extra not too long ago.

It’s apparent that the Spotify workforce loves music. The service’s advice algorithms are at all times on level and have come to nail down my style by means of years of listening information. My daylists are persistently good, and I’ve even been pleasantly stunned with what the app’s AI DJ serves up once I’m feeling lazy.

However I’m additionally an audio nerd who owns a handful of very good headphones and earbuds. And typically I simply wish to plug in my USB-C dongle, lay on the sofa, and really sink into a brand new album. And it’s these moments the place I’m inevitably disenchanted with Spotify, as a result of I know what I’m listening to isn’t the most effective it may be. I’m paying for an objectively inferior listening expertise. Nicely, I was. A pair months in the past, I acquired bored with ready, so I let my longtime Spotify subscription lapse and bought a yr’s price of Apple Music.

Understanding my luck, Spotify may announce its Supremium plan mere weeks from now at its Stream On occasion — if it holds one this yr — proper after I bailed on my account. And if it does, relying on what else is thrown in, there’s an excellent probability I’ll resubscribe. That’s doubly true if the dearer plan means even barely higher payouts for artists. Apple Music feels so much cleaner and extra centered than the hybrid music / podcasts vacation spot that Spotify has turn out to be. Nevertheless it doesn’t get me fairly as nicely. Possibly that’ll change over the course of this yearlong plan. Judging by historical past, I’ll have a while to provide it an opportunity.

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