Spotify launching 'HiFi' lossless streaming later this year

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
This was announced on their 1:53 long "Stream On" livestream event at 11am EST this morning, and while most any damn 1:53 long presentation is likely to fall into the category of TL : DW, this one looks interesting and highlights various profound consequences for the music industry moving forward, as Spotify has by far the most paid subscribers, by any available count. I could not watch any of the livestream itself, but did see this in their Newsroom afterwards:

 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I just posted a separate thread about 3 minutes ago, I've since moved my post above into this existing thread to combine them.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
if they do roon integration that would be attractive
I'll be curious as they do already have Spotify Connect from their own app and desktop.

Also curious if it ever goes full blown hi-rez, or if they just stick to CD quality for any given length of time.

Since Joe and Jane Mainstream seem perfectly happy with 256/320kbps quality, I don't blame Spotify for taking the intermediate step of CD quality first, as the audio enthusiast market is relatively small.

I could also see this being another step in the record label's plans to return the crown jewels to the vault, and institute their previously confirmed plan to go with a "one deliverable approach" to all streaming services, likely 44.1/48 kHz content, perhaps upsampled into fake hi-rez with bullshit MQA.

It also won't surprise me if Spotify buys out either TIDAL, Qobuz, or Deezer at some point as it doesn't seem the little guys are going to be able to compete forever.

By all accounts every streaming service including Spotify, which is the largest, all lose a lot of money every quarter. While Amazon and Apple can put up with that probably indefinitely, I'm not so sure anyone else can, least of all the smallest, so Deezer, Qobuz, and TIDAL all look like acquisition targets at this point for the likes of Spotify, if not Apple, or Amazon too.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
This Joe Mainstream would be happy with CD quality as I believe the recording industry oversells the Hi-Rez label.

And if what I read is true, and most artists make very little from streaming, and the streaming services are all losing money, who is getting rich here? Record labels and their executives no doubt.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Count me in. I prefer Spotify's interface and algorithm for finding new music. I've always found Tidal to be very clunky in use and they recommend stuff to me that I never find interesting...plus pushing whole genres of music that they have a vested interest in, that just aren't my thing.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Count me in. I prefer Spotify's interface and algorithm for finding new music. I've always found Tidal to be very clunky in use and they recommend stuff to me that I never find interesting...plus pushing whole genres of music that they have a vested interest in, that just aren't my thing.
the cool thing about spotify is the listener created playlists; i know some people who create great playlists; sure they are the tip of the iceberg
 
Where is the market?
High end home system or phone>Bluetooth speaker/ear device?
Could high quality earbuds save high Rez?
Are we a shrinking culture?
 

Pboser

Junior Member
I'm very hopeful about this. I agree about the interface and especially the algorithm - the suggested music in Discover Weekly is my go-to radio station when I don't feel like selecting specific music. Also, if I can avoid belonging to multiple services, I'd love that! I agree that, if they're willing now to move up in quality, they might go further in the future - but they're not going to be pioneers, because they don't have to, because they dominate .
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Where is the market?
High end home system or phone>Bluetooth speaker/ear device?
Could high quality earbuds save high Rez?
Are we a shrinking culture?
I honestly cannot tell the difference between high res and CD-quality in either my car or on headphones like the Airpod Pros I'm wearing right now. Nor do I really care about it in the situations where I'm in my car or using bluetooth headphones. I really don't know if there's much of a market for going over CD-quality? I'm not suggesting my experience is everybody's but rather that even myself, who's pretty far down the rabbit hole in caring about sound quality, doesn't care about it in many of the contexts that most people listen to music in. I get why they don't care, because I don't care. Certainly I do care about it on my home stereo, which is capable of realizing some of the difference but I'm also, very often, just perfectly happy with 16/44.1 or thereabouts. Whether its in my head or not, I really enjoy SACD/DSD, while high res PCM is often just kind of a wash with me... nothing against it, but also not that feeling that its really better, like I have with DSD.
 
I have been waiting for this for ...ever. Spotify wins on just about every count but sound quality. With this change...they will be able to remove my justification for having a mostly redundant Qobuz subscription.

Here's hoping they scale up to 24/192.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
While I do really enjoy many 24/96 and 24/192 albums on Qobuz and wouldn't want to lose that ever, I also understand that most folks don't care at all, and for them, CD quality is more than enough.

I also think CD quality is and always was fine if a proper tape source and mastering is used, there's no way anyone would have ever been deeply unsatisfied with that. The problem was the altogether too many times that just wasn't the case, and that gave CD a bad name. Thank the asshole record labels for that, they wanted to sell you (me) the same title many times over, and they did, on multiple formats.

There are many great hi-rez albums on Qobuz that do trump the CD versions, but its not always an Earth shaking difference, it's still the same recording, just sometimes a different tape source or mastering makes one or the other (CD quality vs. hi-rez) preferable.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
The best sounding digital album I ever heard was on a regular 16/44 redbook CD. it was an extraordinarily well done CD, but nonetheless.
 
I'll be curious as they do already have Spotify Connect from their own app and desktop.

Also curious if it ever goes full blown hi-rez, or if they just stick to CD quality for any given length of time.

Since Joe and Jane Mainstream seem perfectly happy with 256/320kbps quality, I don't blame Spotify for taking the intermediate step of CD quality first, as the audio enthusiast market is relatively small.

I could also see this being another step in the record label's plans to return the crown jewels to the vault, and institute their previously confirmed plan to go with a "one deliverable approach" to all streaming services, likely 44.1/48 kHz content, perhaps upsampled into fake hi-rez with bullshit MQA.

It also won't surprise me if Spotify buys out either TIDAL, Qobuz, or Deezer at some point as it doesn't seem the little guys are going to be able to compete forever.

By all accounts every streaming service including Spotify, which is the largest, all lose a lot of money every quarter. While Amazon and Apple can put up with that probably indefinitely, I'm not so sure anyone else can, least of all the smallest, so Deezer, Qobuz, and TIDAL all look like acquisition targets at this point for the likes of Spotify, if not Apple, or Amazon too.
It's an MP3 world. Audiophools like us are the minority. If Spotify does a good job of moving to CD quality they may be the winner in the game. IMHO, Spotify has the best UI and their algorithms work well at finding new music for you.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
It's an MP3 world. Audiophools like us are the minority. If Spotify does a good job of moving to CD quality they may be the winner in the game. IMHO, Spotify has the best UI and their algorithms work well at finding new music for you.
Yep. Spotify is great for discovering new music. I love it. And audiophools may be a minority, but Spotify obviously has seen the potential to make money with CD quality streaming. Being the giant that they are, they have had the luxury of sitting back and watching others offer CD quality and above streams, while gauging whether they thought it would be a good business decision for themselves.
 
The best sounding digital album I ever heard was on a regular 16/44 redbook CD. it was an extraordinarily well done CD, but nonetheless.
I had a 47 Labs Flatfish transport and Progression DAC with a Shindo Monbrison preamp, Cortese F2a amp and PHY-HP KM30-SAG drivers in Auris cabinets from, RIP, Hans Kortenbach. A non-audiophool friend came over, he saw Buddy Guy in Orlando the night before. I spun a BG 16/44 redbook CD and he said 'that's the best stereo I ever heard.' Red Book done right is superb.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
It's an MP3 world. Audiophools like us are the minority. If Spotify does a good job of moving to CD quality they may be the winner in the game. IMHO, Spotify has the best UI and their algorithms work well at finding new music for you.
I'm wondering if it will continue to be an MP3 world much longer, I'll be interested to see how Spotify prices this, for instance will they either abandon their lossy tier like Qobuz did and just make CD quality the new regular, then eventually offering hi-rez at an upcharge?

Similar to the above, might they just ditch MP3 and make the current pricing of Spotify Premium stick, but at CD quality moving forward?

Or will this move to CD quality take the TIDAL price of $20/mo. and they leave the current MP3 "Premium" tier in place at $14.99, or possibly reduced to $9.99 to see how many they can successfully up-sell vs. who becomes a bottom feeder. Complicated question for them I'm sure.

It will be interesting to see what develops, they have two main competitors wearing big boy pants, that being Amazon HD at $14.99/mo (or less with Prime), and Apple Music with only a lossy offering (256kbps AAC which I have no idea how that is priced).

Exactly how Spotify offers this and when will be a bit of a chess match with those two disparate competitor offerings, and they'll probably only give minor consideration to how TIDAL or Qobuz is currently structuring things, they want millions of Joe/Jane Mainstream customers in on this, not 100k audiophiles.
 
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