New Spotify HiFi tier announced, brings CD-quality audio streaming to the platform for the first time
Spotify has upped the ante in the music streaming wars by announcing a new Spotify HiFi tier. Starting later this year, the company says users in ‘select markets’ will be able to upgrade their subscription to CD-quality, lossless audio. Currently, Spotify’s catalog is available in up to 320 Kbps MP3 audio files, which while efficiently compressed and good enough for the average listener, is considered a ‘lossy’ format as it is sub-CD quality.
While Spotify’s new HiFi tier puts it on an even footing with Amazon Music’s HD tier, it won’t match the 24-bit high-resolution Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) audio tier found on Tidal, which is the preferred streaming platform for many audiophiles. However, like Amazon Music HD, we can expect Spotify HiFi to stream in CD-quality 16-bit audio at an average bitrate of around 850 Kbps. This should still result in substantially better quality audio than what Spotify currently offers, but it will come with a penalty of increased data consumption.
Spotify says that the new HiFi tier will work with Spotify Connect-enabled speakers while it says that it is also working with some of the ‘world’s biggest speaker manufacturers’ to expand compatible speaker options. The company hasn’t mentioned anything about headphone compatibility but to be able to enjoy Spotify HiFi on your headphones, they will need to support either aptX HD, aptX Adaptive or LDAC. This, for example, would rule out any of Apple’s headphones including the expensive new AirPods Max, which are limited to AAC streaming over Bluetooth.