It appears that the war between streaming services isn’t going to die down anytime soon, and while exclusive music appeared to be the first battlefield, the next one might take place with audio quality.
Currently, only Tidal offers a Hi-Fi option, where users receive higher-quality audio files through their earbuds for a whopping $19.99 a month.
Now, however, it appears that Spotify is looking to get in on the action with a new tier currently dubbed “Spotify Hi-Fi,” which Spotify was reportedly testing back in March. The new tier will offer new high-fidelity option for users to stream for an additional $5-$10 per month on top of the monthly $10 for Spotify Premium.
While Spotify currently uses a compressed audio format of 160 kbps on desktop and 96 kbps on mobile devices, (there is a high-quality option for paid subscribers at 320 kbps, but still compressed) the new tier appears to offer “lossless” audio quality.
When a song is compressed for streaming, bits of noise that are (or are at least supposed to be) undiscernible to the human ear are removed which reduces the file size, something you want pretty small if you want people to be able to stream it without loading times. Lossless audio, however, has a bitrate of 1,411 kbps, leaving much of those “undiscernible” bits intact and providing, at least in theory, a better listening experience.
While Spotfiy has yet to officially announce the new tier, it’s the next logical step in the continuing war between streaming services.
Spotify has also been in the news lately with their agreement between Universal to “window” new albums for paid users, giving them two weeks to enjoy new music before non-paying subscribers. Spotify was also recently in talks with Soundcloud to purchase the music platform, but those talks fell apart.