Spotify HiFi is still a no-show as the year winds down

Almost 10 months have passed since Spotify announced that lossless, CD-quality music streaming would hit the service “later this year.” But with only three weeks to go to 2021, time is running out for Spotify to deliver on its promise.

Revealed in February during its Stream On event, Spotify HiFi is supposed to bring “CD-quality lossless audio” to both the Spotify app and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. Spotify did not disclose whether Spotify HiFi would be included in its standard subscription tiers or additional cost, nor did it reduce the launch window beyond the “this year” deadline.

But since that initial announcement, we haven’t heard a peep from Spotify about its hi-fi feature, and the streaming giant didn’t respond to a recent TechHive inquiry. For now, Spotify music streams still max out at 320 Kbps in the lossy Ogg Vorbis format.

Meanwhile, Spotify’s competitors have made some big moves in the lossless audio department. Apple and Amazon caused the biggest buzz in May, with the two companies launching lossless music streaming at no additional charge to paid subscribers. (Lossless streaming was a first on Apple Music, while Amazon had been charging extra for its lossless music tracks.)

In addition to simply offering CD-quality lossless music tracks, Apple and Amazon also have a couple of additional features that (for now) go beyond the scope of Spotify’s advertised hi-fi service: support for high-resolution audio. (or 24 bits), too. such as spatial audio with Dolby Atmos technology and (on Amazon Music) Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology.

With Apple and Amazon bringing lossless music streaming to the masses at no additional charge, hi-fi music broadcasters that were charging a premium for high-resolution, CD-quality audio tracks had to readjust their plans. Qobuz, for example, lowered its Qobuz Studio plan from $ 15 / mo to $ 13 / mo, while Tidal recently offered a cheaper tier of CD quality for $ 10 / mo, in addition to its high-resolution streaming plan of $ 20 / month.

Of course, it’s not that Spotify has been in your hands all year. The streamer has been pushing hard on its multi-million dollar podcasting business, Implement paid podcast subscriptions for users around the world. last month.

Spotify finally got to launch lyrics in the Spotify app, a feature that users had longed for for a long time.

And while Spotify hasn’t said anything official about HiFi since its initial announcement, there has been evidence that work on the project has progressed behind the scenes. Eagle-eyed users saw a “HiFi” icon on the app in May, while a The leaked video for “Hi HiFi” was released in August.

Spotify still has a few weeks left in 2021 to amaze us with its hi-fi feature, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least next year to get CD-quality streams from the streaming giant.

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