Despite our expectations, there was no mention at the Stream On event of Spotify's HiFi tier that was first announced in 2021. But in an interview with the The Verge, Söderström talks about Spotify's new look and comments on Spotify's HiFi tier saying "We are going to do it, but we’re going to do it in a way where it makes sense for us and for our listeners. The industry changed and we had to adapt," he added.
The interview continues with Söderström stating "We want to do it in a way where it works for us from a cost perspective as well", though he would not comment on licensing agreements with record labels or other streaming service providers.
When will Spotify HiFi arrive?
Spotify is undoubtedly the go-to streaming service for the majority of music fans, and as one of the best music streaming services the company has previously admitted that high-quality streaming is the most requested feature subscribers want to see from it. And there’s every reason to look forward to it: Spotify HiFi promises to deliver near-CD-quality music streams, and could even be available through Spotify Connect devices such as smart TVs.
When it announced the new HiFi tier in 2021, Spotify promised it would roll out in “selected markets," and it seemed reasonable to think that the new lossless tier would arrive imminently. After some delay, we anticipated that 2022 would be the year that the streaming giant gave the option of lossless audio to subscribers, but disappointingly it wasn't to be one of the year's audio highlights.
As Söderström suggests, adapting to industry changes could point to Apple Music introducing spatial audio and lossless support in 2021 for no additional cost. This is widely thought to be a key factor for the delay, as it was widely expected that any Spotify HiFi tier would require a further subscription to access any of its lossless audio content.
The report suggests that Spotify's HiFi tier is already available and being trialed by Spotify employees. This could mean that the streaming giant may still be looking for a way to package the service with access to additional content such as spatial audio and premium podcasts, and perhaps even video content given the recent redesign, to leverage any additional subscription costs.
The HiFi waiting game
After following recent Spotify events and feeling disappointed that the promised lossless audio tier still hasn't materialized, it's reassuring to see Spotify HiFi back on the agenda. Sadly though, despite Söderström comments, we are no clearer in knowing why the service has been delayed, or when we can actually expect to see a lossless audio tier arrive from the world's most popular streaming service.
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As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.