Back in 2021, Spotify announced HiFi, a new subscription tier that would offer lossless audio on devices that support it. At that time, the company said that it is working with manufacturers to make its HiFi tier available to as many people as possible. However, we have barely heard a whisper about HiFi launch plans since then, until now.
In an interview with The Verge, Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström noted that plans to launch HiFi got delayed due to the changing landscape of the music streaming industry. The executive mentioned that:
We announced it, but then the industry changed for a bunch of reasons. 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.
We want to do it in a way where it works for us from a cost perspective as well. I’m not allowed to comment on our label agreements, nor on what other players in the industry did, for obvious reasons.
While Söderström didn't dive into the details of how the industry changed, the executive is likely referring to competition from Apple and Amazon, which offer lossless audio for no extra charge. When Spotify announced HiFi, it was primarily competing against Tidal, which offered the feature at $19.99/month. However, Tidal is not Spotify's primary competitor anymore.
The Verge has further highlighted that Spotify HiFi has been ready to launch for over a year now, with music content being re-ingested in a lossless format. In fact, employees already have access to HiFi internally. The delay in launch is likely due to the firm re-strategizing its pricing plans and offerings considering the stiff competition. It's clear from Söderström's comments that the firm still plans to charge a premium for the feature, but the executive was reluctant to share timelines and pricing details at this point. He did confirm that Spotify HiFi is coming at "some point" though.
Source: The Verge
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