‘We are going to do it, but we’re going to do it in a way where it makes sense for us and for our listeners. The industry changed and we had to adapt.’
Even though Spotify HiFi still hasn’t launched after being announced more than two years ago, some kind of lossless experience is still on the way, Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström said in an interview with The Verge. But don’t get your hopes up for any specific information about when.
“We announced it, but then the industry changed for a bunch of reasons,” Söderström said on the latest episode of Decoder. “We are going to do it, but we’re going to do it in a way where it makes sense for us and for our listeners. The industry changed and we had to adapt.”
Originally, Spotify said its plan was to launch HiFi as a premium tier by the end of 2021. Since then, Apple Music and Amazon have offered lossless music at no extra charge, and high-fidelity music has also spread to other services.
When pushed for details about how the industry changed or if the delay is due to cost, Söderström largely demurred. “We want to do it in a way where it works for us from a cost perspective as well. I’m not allowed to comment on our label agreements, nor on what other players in the industry did, for obvious reasons.”
The Verge has recently learned that Spotify HiFi has been ready to go for more than a year. The technical work to bring the feature to market is largely complete, and the company has re-ingested its entire music catalog in lossless quality. Spotify employees have access to HiFi. But since it was originally intended to cost more than the standard plan (and thus boost Spotify’s average revenue per user), the launch was spoiled by Apple bundling lossless into Apple Music for free. If you read into Söderström’s answers, it’s clear that Spotify doesn’t intend to do the same. You can now expect HiFi to eventually appear as part of a more expensive plan — likely one that also includes spatial audio/Dolby Atmos and other perks related to audiobooks and podcasts.
As for when you can actually expect to listen to lossless music on Spotify, all Söderström would confirm is that HiFi “is coming at some point.” While you wait, you’ll have some time to adjust to Spotify’s new TikTok-ified redesign.
Update March 14th, 12:20PM ET: The article has been updated with more details on the current status of Spotify HiFi.