It seems that Spotify has quietly put its Hi-Fi offerings on hold. For now or forever. Time will tell.
Spotify HiFi was announced with much fanfare earlier last year. In the fall of 2021 it was all going to happen: lossless streaming via Spotify. No doubt the streaming service had the idea of rigging up a slightly more expensive subscription for that. But then Apple came freewheeling around the corner with their streaming service. Which later in the year suddenly launched lossless streams for the standard price. From that point on, things became a little quiet around Spotify HiFi. Sure: a miracle could still happen. And Spotify may still decide to launch HiFi. Fine, but (and this is probably also the main question Spotify is struggling with): who of its users is really interested in that…?
Many don’t notice a difference
Let’s be very honest. The vast majority of subscribers to a music service listen through headphones, usually a wireless Bluetooth one. Or they connect via the very same Bluetooth to a mediocore hi-fi set or wireless speaker (think teenagers, camping and so on). Listening in a car – also via Bluetooth – is a popular activity too. In all these cases, due to compression losses of Bluetooth codecs, you will never fully benefit from a better sound quality anyway, even if the source is lossless. Furthermore, bitrates of compressed streams are pretty much maxed out on all music streamers these days. This means that many people can’t even tell the difference between lossy and lossless. Sure: audiophiles who have learned(!) to listen more critically can. But for a streamer, that’s just a drop in the bucket when it comes to subscribers. In short: good chance Spotify won’t get any complaints if HiFi never comes at all. And that may be the main reason behind the silence. Or is it silence before the storm?