Spotify said Monday that it will launch a new subscription offering called HiFi later this year in select markets, a new tier that will allow members to listen to music in higher-quality audio. It is expected to be priced competitively with other high-quality-audio streaming tiers, which in the US can cost $20 a month. Spotify said HiFi would be considered an add-on to its regular Premium account, which is $10 a month in the US — meaning Spotify HiFi is likely to cost about $10 in addition to the regular subscription price. And it’s probably a safe bet that the new tier will be available in the US, which is the world’s biggest music market, as well as Sweden, Spotify’s home base.
Rival Tidal’s high-quality-audio membership is $20 a month and offers lossless high-fidelity sound quality at 1411 Kbps and immersive audio with 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos Music.
The news came out of Spotify’s Stream On event, intended to reveal how the streaming-music giant wants to improve both creator and fan experiences on its service. Monday’s two-hour virtual event was expected to bring news both for listeners of Spotify and for audio creators using the service, likely including music artists and podcasters alike.
Spotify said its HiFi subscription will deliver music in CD-quality, lossless audio format to your devices and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. It also said it is working with some of the world’s biggest speaker makers so their products support Spotify HiFi through Spotify Connect, its system to let users listen on speakers, TVs, and other devices using the Spotify app as a remote.
Billie Eilish touted the feature during Spotify’s event. “High-quality audio means more info,” she said. “There are things you will not hear if you don’t have a good sound system. It’s really important just because we make music that [we] want to be heard in the way that it was made.”
Spotify, the biggest streaming service by both listeners and subscribers, hasn’t held one of these events since 2018 when it overhauled its free mobile tier. It amped up what you could hear with a free account, unlocking on-demand songs that previously were available only to paying customers. Changes like those, and Spotify’s obsession with expanding into podcasts of late, have vaulted the company to 345 million listeners and 155 million paying subscribers as of the end of last year.
Spotify is also embarking on its broadest expansion to new markets yet, which will take place this week. It will widen significantly to more than 80 new markets across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe over the next few days. And the company will also make Spotify available in 36 new languages — including Romanian, Hindi, and Swahili — so it supports more than 60 languages in total.
Spotify revealed new exclusive podcast programmings, such as a podcast from former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen called Renegades. The company also used the event to tout new and widening tools for creators, saying that its Spotify for Artists center has matured as the company’s hub for people who post music on Spotify and now houses a growing suite of tools and resources. It said it will open its Canvas looping visual to all artists, widen its Marquee marketing tool and launch Discovery Mode as a test later this year for more labels, which lets artists’ teams prioritize specific music that they want Spotify’s algorithms to favor.