Spotify's long-awaited HiFi tier appears to have been pushed back indefinitely, with the company admitting there’s no current timeline for its release.
It’s been almost a year since we heard that Spotify’s HiFi tier was coming, offering songs in a lossless format and near-CD sound quality for Premium subscribers. Rumors of a lossless beta version only helped to fuel our excitement that the world’s most intuitive and integrated music streaming app would soon deliver our favourite tunes in high-quality audio.
But in a thread that appeared on Spotify’s Community site concerning delays to the launch of the lossless tier, the company dashed hopes of us being able to listen to high-quality streams from the service any time soon.
“We know that HiFi quality audio is important to you,” the comment said. “We feel the same, and we’re excited to deliver a Spotify HiFi experience to Premium users in the future. But we don’t have timing details to share yet. We will of course update you here when we can.”
When it announced the new HiFi tier last year, Spotify promised it would roll out in “selected markets” sometime during 2021, so the latest setback is a further blow to fans who have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. And there’s every reason to look forward to it: it promises to deliver near-CD-quality music streams, and could even be available through Spotify Connect devices such as smart TV.
Spotify and Apple Music are locked in a battle for the music streaming market, and this setback could be to Apple's benefit. Apple Music introduced Spatial Audio and Lossless support last year at no additional cost, while Spotify HiFi is expected to require a further subscription.
When it arrives, the new service will also face competition from the likes of Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal HiFi. If Spotify doesn’t want to fall behind its rivals on this front, it will need to get the new tier live soon.