Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Spotify ‘HiFi’ Lossless Audio Is Coming Later This Year

Chris Welch, the Verge:

Spotify is going hi-fi. Well, “HiFi.” It’s taken longer than competitors like Tidal and Amazon Music, but today, the leading subscription music service announced a new lossless streaming tier that will allow listeners to get the most from their digital music library. The news came at the company’s Spotify “Stream On” virtual event.

If this sounds like deja vu to you, that might be because Spotify tested lossless audio with some of its subscribers four years ago before dropping it shortly after. I can’t find a precise date when it disappeared, but it seems to be coming back in a more concrete form later this year. So, if CD quality audio is something you would like from your streaming service, Spotify has surely become a more attractive option.

I remembered this news item while I was writing about the HomePod’s discontinuation, because I briefly wondered if it may indicate that Apple is perhaps less interested in a competitive feature. But of course that is not the case. Apple has emphasized audio quality with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and those appear to be selling as fast as they can be made despite their steep — and very steep — price tags.

Maybe the reason the big HomePod didn’t work is that high-quality home audio is something most people just aren’t very interested in. And those who are willing to spend a little more are probably not going to be buying some Siri-based speaker. But CD quality audio? That might be an easier sell, even as I remain skeptical of the audible difference. At any rate, Spotify is about to find out.