Spotify to Launch a Lossless Streaming Service in 2021

Posted on February 22, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Spotify with 19 Comments

Spotify announced today that it plans to release Spotify HiFi, a lossless audio tier of its music streaming service, sometime in 2021.

“High-quality audio means … more info,” the ever-eloquent recording artist Billie Eilish says during a promotional video for the service. “There are things you will not hear if you don’t have a good sound system. It’s really important just because we make music that wants to be heard the way that it was made.”

Spotify’s service today tops out at 320 Kbps, which is considerably better quality than most purchased MP3 titles, but a far cry from the lossless quality offered by Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and a few other niche streaming services. Spotify HiFi is described as both “CD quality” and “lossless,” but it’s not clear yet what the actual quality level is.

Spotify says the new service will be competitive, so most are betting it will cost about $19.99 per month. By comparison, Spotify currently offers a free, ad-supported version of its service, individual accounts for $9.99 per month, Duo accounts for $12.99, Family plans for $14.99, and a Student tier for $4.99. Spotify HiFi will be an add-on to its premium tiers (everything but the individual account, I guess).

Spotify is the world’s largest music streaming service, and while I’m not surprised that they’ll offer a HiFi offering, I also figured Apple would get there first.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Spotify to Launch a Lossless Streaming Service in 2021”

  1. vladimir

    I was looking forward to this, very good news

  2. JH_Radio

    I've heard Spotify  music discovery is pretty good. Now that it will offer lossless I'll try it again. Once the lossless tear launches of coarse.

  3. glenn8878

    I wonder what stereo setup is required to ensure you get what you paid for. I also bet most people probably can't tell the difference.

  4. jdawgnoonan

    "CD Quality" is not "Lossless", so it is a good question what exactly they mean. For some reason I thought that most services listed their standard offerings as at least near CD Quality already.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to jdawgnoonan:

      I'm far from an expert on this, but it's my understanding that "lossless" is generally understood to mean that no audio information is lost when compared to an audio CD. So by that definition, CD quality is in fact lossless because the "loss" would be the audio information that is lost. If audio information is lost, it's no longer CD quality.

      • jdawgnoonan

        In reply to jchampeau:

        No, actually CD Quality is a lossy format. Lossless implies not compressed and CDs are in fact compressed. Lossless is higher than CD resolution. Let me be clear, my ears cannot hear the difference, but if a company advertises "Lossless" then I expect for it to truly be lossless and if it is not then they are just marketing something.

        If the audio is truly CD Quality then they should just stop at calling it CD Quality and not lossless.

        • javial

          In reply to jdawgnoonan:

          Sorry, but audio in CD is not compressed. Its pure wav PCM 16 bits, 44,1 kHz without any compression. Its lossless. CD quality is lossless. When CD is developed about 1980 none of the compression formats exists.

  5. JH_Radio

    I've used Tidal and Amazon HD both. For me amazon HD really works best with the Alexa devices. Apple music does integrate well with iOS too.

  6. christophercollins

    Been disappointed in Apple for that.

    Honestly, my disappointment was more in music purchasing. I'm not going to buy an AAC copy of anything for long term keeping. I'd rather get the CD and rip it lossless.

    Even Amazon has HD streams @ 19.99. I use Apple music because of it's heavy integration.

    Looks like that is changing with the latest iOS in regards to default audio sources. I will switch when I know I I can hold my steering wheel button and it play the playlist I ask for.

    • annacourt

      In reply to ChristopherCollins:

      Agreed, Tidal and Deezer also offer HiFi. I wonder where the hesitation comes from for Apple.

      • vladimir

        In reply to annacourt:

        I guess the hesitation comes from the fact that most listeners use an iPhone and the service probably operates at a loss to gear up iPhone sales. You really need dedicated hardware to be able to perceive the difference in lossless streaming and be willing to pay a double subscription fee

  7. remc86007

    Yay!!!! What are the chances this will work on day one with Spotify Connect through my Yamaha Aventage receiver?

  8. mclark2112

    Just in time to max out my Comcast data cap, yay!

    • christophercollins

      In reply to mclark2112:

      I truly think data caps are unfair. Where I live, it's Comcast or bust. AT&T stopped fiber at my driveway. If I don't have Comcast, I have an 18Mb/512k connection. Who can work from home with 512k up?

      I was also in one of the first capped markets (Louisiana). I've only went over once, but I am a household of 1.5 (Me and my daughter half of the time).

      It is ridiculous to me that we give them a monopoly on a platter, then let them cap data. Lots of things need to change.

      • christianwilson

        In reply to mclark2112:

        It is ridiculous to me that we give them a monopoly on a platter, then let them cap data.

        Well said! I never heard it worded that way before, but that is spot on.

      • mclark2112

        In reply to ChristopherCollins:

        I live in southern NJ, and Comcast runs this place. I think one of the Roberts lives in my town, so Verizon will never be allowed in. Comcast just announced a moratorium on applying the caps, which only went in place in January. It's total crap. I signed up for Starlink, let's hope I get to try that!

  9. javial

    I expect that Spotify not use the lossy degraded MQA propietary format like Tidal. MQA adds lots of distorsions to the original studio format.