Audiophiles, rejoice. Spotify announced today during a media event that starting later this year, Premium subscribers will get the option of streaming CD-quality, lossless audio via a new paid tier dubbed Spotify HiFi.
According to Spotify, high-fidelity audio is “consistently one of the most requested new features” by users. Once it’s live, Spotify HiFi users will be able to listen to lossless audio on their devices and any Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. Cryptically, Spotify also said that it’s working with “some of the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers” to make sure Spotify HiFi is “accessible to as many fans as possible.”
Spotify went light on the details regarding its new tier. Right now, Spotify streams at a max bitrate of 160kbps for free users, and 320kbps for Premium users. CD-quality audio has a bitrate of 1,411kbps, but other high-fidelity streaming services sometimes go beyond that. Tidal, for instance, goes up to 9,216 kbps via its Tidal Masters tier. Qobuz, another high-fidelity service, also streams at that rate. Whether Spotify opts for “standard” CD-quality or better remains to be seen. Also, Spotify’s presentation clearly focused on music, so it’s unknown whether podcasts will also get a bump in audio quality. Pricing, and which markets Spotify HiFi will be available in, have also yet to be announced.
Spotify isn’t the only company that’s hopped on the HiFi train. Sonos recently introduced Sonos Radio HD, a high-fidelity paid tier of its Sonos Radio service. Meanwhile, Amazon launched its version of high-quality audio streaming with Amazon Music HD back in 2019.
Aside from Spotify HiFi, the company also had a smattering of other announcements. On the podcast front, Spotify said it’s teaming up for a multi-year partnership with DC and Warner Bros. to produce narrative scripted podcasts starting with Batman Unburied. The company also teased podcasts from director Ava DuVernay, a new podcast produced by the Obamas called “Tell Them, I Am,” as well as a partnership with the Russo Brothers’ entertainment company AGBO. The company also announced a partnership with Anchor and WordPress that’ll let bloggers publish written content as podcasts.
And if that weren’t enough, Spotify also said it’s launching in 85 new markets and 36 new languages, bringing the total number to more than 170. While all these new markets will get access to Spotify’s entire global music and podcast catalogue, the company says it’ll have to work with local rights holders to include more local offerings.