Rumours surfaced over the weekend that Spotify may finally be ready to up its game when it comes to audio quality. A story in 9to5Mac speculates on the imminent launch of a “Platinum” subscription that will offer better-sounding audio.
Spotify is way behind in this regard. Tidal was first to offer high-res streaming (for a fee) and was followed by Deezer doing the same. Then Amazon Music (“HD Music”) and Apple Music (lossless and Spatial Audio) fired a big salvo across everyone’s bow by offering high-res music at no extra cost for their paid plans. (Of course, Apple ONLY has a paid plan.)
Spotify’s current bitrate is (we think) 320 kbps–which, if you remember burning CDs, is the highest-quality setting for MP3s. Compare that to 1,411 kbps for a CD. High-res audio is twice that.
Speculating wildly, it appears that more than 18 months after Spotify started discussing its audio plans the company might be ready to pull the trigger–but at twice the price of a regular subscription (i.e. $19.99 a month). According to the weekend’s stories, this could be announced in the next month. Within the rumoured offering are terms like “HiFi” and “Studio Sound.”
The corollary of this is that the free tier and the regular paid subscription package will stick with 320 kbps streaming.
So here’s the question: Is better-sounding music enough of a priority for you that you’d spend 20 bucks a month for it via Spotify? Or would you instead switch to Apple and Amazon to get it for free?