Sunday, April 21, 2024

Spotify’s premium subscription tier might include Hi-Fi audio

Audio content giant Spotify has been promising for at least the past two years that high-fidelity streaming is coming. We’ve seen traces of the effort over time, but there’s never been an outright announcement. It seems, though, that we’re edging closer than ever to the launch of what employees are dubbing the “Supremium” plan with a late intelligence leak.


Also: What is Spotify and how does it work?

Sources to Bloomberg claim that Spotify has been holding off on Hi-Fi streaming after Apple Music and Amazon Music began offering the feature as part of their existing premium-tier plans in 2021. Within the past nine months, both competitors have raised prices for their plans from $9.99 per month to $10.99.

In addition, the company is said to be integrating free audiobook access into its existing Premium tier (and, presumably, in its “Supremium” one), though it has not determined whether it will be credited as a number of titles or hours. Spotify came into the audiobook market a year ago this month, but has only made standalone sales.

The Swedish firm is believed to be rolling out the audiobook integration to the US in October. Other markets are said to be getting both the free audiobooks and the new plan starting earlier on.

Spotify Premium still costs $9.99 per month, but the maximum streaming quality it offers is capped at the “equivalent of 320kbps” – likely compressed as an MP3. Apple Music Lossless and Amazon Music HD/Ultra HD boast streaming specs starting at 16-bit and 44.1KHz. They feature less compression, though their delivery is optimized through data-efficient codecs.

Spotify remains under immense investor pressure to increase profits after years of targeting user base growth. The company has made original and exclusive podcasts a core driver for revenues. The expansion into audiobooks, while appearing to be natural, faces some difficulty against established players – mainly Amazon’s Audible.

In a crowded pool for music streaming, Spotify can’t be first to Hi-Fi music. The question now is whether the company will get it right.


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