Hi-Fi Spotify: lossless streaming should soon be possible

Hi-Fi Spotify: lossless streaming should soon be possible

Livia Gamper
Zurich, on 23.02.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Streaming provider Spotify have announced upcoming improvements to their sound quality. The new offering is meant to enable lossless music enjoyment.

Spotify has announced Spotify HiFi. With this offer, their music should soon be streamable in a lossless audio format. Lossless music is already an option with many competitors. Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon have been offering them for a while.

Spotify used their online «Stream On» event to explain how lossless CD quality music works. However, the Swedes are reluctant to provide precise information about the quality itself. Spotify's newsroom also mentions CD-quality music in a lossless audio format. CD quality would mean 44.1 kHz at 16 bits. This results in a data rate of 1411.2 kbps (kilobits per second). Until now, the highest possible quality on Spotify has been 320 kbps. However, these two values aren't directly comparable. A Bluetooth codec is also crucial for quality.

Bluetooth-Audio: Der Teufel steckt im Detail
Knowhow

Bluetooth-Audio: Der Teufel steckt im Detail

However, better audio quality won't be possible on all playback devices. Spotify claims they're working with well-known audio manufacturers to deliver the improved offer to corresponding devices via Spotify Connect. Spotify hasn't yet revealed which manufacturers these are.

Price and Release are still pending

In their online event, Spotify didn't specify how much improved quality would cost users. Subscriptions without loss cost more with Amazon and Deezer.

Regarding release, Spotify states that the HiFi option should be out in selected countries by the end of 2021. Which countries, however, is still unknown.

The apparent Spotify HiFi logo.
The apparent Spotify HiFi logo.

Are Apple and Google lagging behind?

Spotify says that better audio quality is one of the features that subscribers most wanted in surveys.

The only streaming providers that don't offer higher quality options are Apple and Google. Regarding Apple Music, this state probably won't change anytime soon. The new, expensive AirPods Max headphones only support the AAC Bluetooth codec, and thus a maximum bit rate of 320 kbps.

Spotify survey

Is lossless streaming important to you?

  • Yes, it's indispensable.
    55%
  • No, you can't hear the difference anyway.
    37%
  • I don't know or care, I only listen to vinyl anyway.
    7%

The competition has ended.

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Livia Gamper
Livia Gamper
Junior Editor, Zurich
Testing devices and gadgets is my thing. Some experiments lead to interesting insights, others to demolished phones. I’m hooked on series and can’t imagine life without Netflix. In summer, you’ll find me soaking up the sun by the lake or at a music festival.

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