After teasing the arrival of high-fidelity audio over two years ago, it appears that Spotify HiFi may finally be ready to launch – but it’ll come at a high cost.
Spotify HiFi was initially teased back in early 2021, with music stars Billie Eilish and Finneas promising that select markets would be able to try the feature “later this year.” Later never came in 2021, however, and Spotify has remained tight-lipped about the progress of HiFi ever since its announcement.
That could be set to change soon, however, with insiders telling Bloomberg that Spotify will soon get a new subscription tier that will support hi-res audio. Known as ‘Supremium’ internally, the new plan will be Spotify’s most expensive yet (more than Premium, which is $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99 per month), though it’s not yet clear how much it will cost.
One leak from late 2022 suggests it could cost $19.99 (likely around £19.99 / AU$23.99). A user was seemingly sent an erroneous email from Spotify saying they could resubscribe to the platform by joining the new Spotify Platinum plan at $19.99 per month – the Platinum plan would apparently include access to Spotify HiFi as well as Studio Sound, Headphone Tuner, Audio Insights, Library Pro, Playlist Pro, and Limited-ad Spotify podcasts (though it’s not clear what this would mean in practical terms).
If Spotify Supremium/Platinum is indeed set to cost $19.99 it will need a lot of benefits to justify this price.
This would not only make Spotify more expensive than the other best music streaming services but the best streaming services for video, too. Thankfully, regular Premium reportedly won’t be going away, and it may even include free access to audiobooks according to Bloomberg (though likely in some limited way like only so many hours of books per month).
We don’t know when the new Spotify plan will launch, but it’ll apparently come to select non-US markets first, so we might be waiting a while before we can enjoy high-resolution audio through the Spotify app.
What is HiFi audio?
High-resolution, or high-fidelity, music streams are a major blessing to audiophiles. The best speakers and best headphones can render minor details in tracks, but if a music stream is compressed those details never reach the speaker limiting its audio capabilities.
By increasing the bitrate of music streams, and cutting the compression used, those details can reach speakers and make your favorite tracks sound more vibrant. The system has some drawbacks.
Because more data is being sent through, these higher-quality streams typically cost the company more – that’s why services like Tidal and Deezer charge more for their HiFi tiers, though some platforms like Amazon Music and Apple Music eat up the costs.
What’s more, not every track in Spotify’s library will likely be supported by HiFi – the same is true for other streaming services. As such, even after you upgrade to Spotify’s HiFi tier, you might not actually hear any difference in your favorite tracks.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Spotify’s upcoming Supremium has in store for us (assuming it’s even real).