Music streaming juggernaut Spotify (155 million paid subscribers) just announced they’ll launch CD-quality streaming in select markets later this year. The service will be called Spotify Hi-Fi. According to Spotify, “High-quality music streaming is consistently one of the most requested new features by our users.”
At Pro Learning Solutions, we are huge advocates for high-quality audio. While you’ll have to pry our cold dead hands away from Qobuz hi-res streaming (up to 4.35 times the sampling rate of CD-quality), we welcome Spotify’s announcement.
Spotify says, “Ubiquity is at the core of everything we do at Spotify,” and they mean it. With thousands of Spotify Connect-enabled devices from more than 200 brands, we finally have a chance to bring high-quality audio into the mainstream.
Don’t get greedy. CNET speculates that Spotify Hi-Fi will cost $20. That’s too much. Qobuz delivers even higher-grade audio at $14.99/month, or $149.99 paid annually, which works out to $12.50/month. Amazon Music HD, also capable of delivering better-than-CD-quality streams, is $14.99/month, or only $12.99/month if you’re a Prime member. That’s barely more than Spotify’s current $9.99/month low-res MP3 streams. Yes, you’re probably already using Spotify, and it works with more devices than the other services combined, but $20/month is a lot for some folks.
CD-quality should mean CD-quality. At Qobuz, CD-quality streams are the bare minimum, and millions of tracks stream well beyond that, in glorious high-res audio. Conversely, streaming rival Amazon Music HD frustratingly drops you to MP3 quality when they can’t find a higher-quality version of a certain track. If you don’t think you can hear the difference, just wait until it happens to you. Don’t do that, Spotify. If we really mean to bring high-quality music to the masses, CD-quality should be the minimum at Spotify Hi-Fi.