When Is Spotify’s HiFi Release Date? A Look at the Missing Lossless Streaming Launch

spotify hifi release date

Photo Credit: Filip Havlik

When is the Spotify HiFi release date? The company said by the end of 2021. So where is it?

Update (1/10): Spotify HiFi is now set to debut “in the future,” according to higher-ups, who didn’t disclose a release date or window.

Spotify HiFi was announced in February, but the lossless streaming plan is conspicuously absent. The company promised to share more details about its HiFi plans in the coming months. But the rest of 2021 rolled by without Spotify saying anything about its upgraded streaming plan, which it planned to charge more for.

In the meantime, competitors like Apple Music rolled out lossless and hi-res playback in June. Apple Music subscribers get HiFi audio at no extra charge. Amazon Music started offering its hi-res music to its subscribers at no extra charge to match Apple Music.

But Spotify remains suspiciously quiet on the hi-res music front. The company is focusing more on its podcasting strategy, launching a huge new podcasting studio in downtown Los Angeles.

If Spotify can’t offer CD-quality audio at no extra cost, then it can’t compete with Apple Music and Amazon Music. YouTube Music has yet to even utter the phrase ‘lossless audio,’ so there’s no competition there. But for those who want access to high-fidelity streaming music, Apple, Amazon, Deezer, and Tidal are the current best options.

Why hasn’t Spotify announced the HiFi release date?

The simple answer is that Apple has likely forced Spotify to adapt its business model. A feature that was previously planned to be ‘premium’ now must be offered for free to remain competitive. That’s why Spotify has pivoted to podcasts – which offer unique content to draw in new users.

Estimates suggest Spotify’s podcast listening audience will outnumber Apple’s – so the focus of the two companies is vastly different.

While Spotify has focused heavily on podcast content, advertising, and general audio, Apple has focused on music. For artists who want to be paid for their streams, that’s probably best.

When Spotify HiFi was announced earlier this year, Spotify said Premium subscribers in select markets would “be able to upgrade their sound quality to Spotify HiFi and listen to their favorite songs the way artists intended.” So expect Spotify to charge for Spotify HiFi when it eventually does launch, although we have no idea at what price point.

24 Responses

  1. Jim Ramsey

    Why would anyone pay a premium for “lossless Hi-Fi” when you can get better sound quality for the same or less $ from Apple, Amazon, or Tidal ?

    • Michael Ash Sharbaugh

      Spotify is not bogus. Spotify allows users to access more music — and obscure music, at that. Whenever I need to find something obscure, I go to Spotify, because Tidal, Apple Music, and others simply do not have access to it. That, alone, is why, I believe Spotify rules the streaming waves. Also, Spotify’s regular playback quality sounds crisper and more complete than Apple and some other sites.

      • Dawn

        Spotify’s app is also second to none! I agree I pay for a subscription to Apple Music/YouTube Premium but keep Spotify because of the playlists I’ve built over time and access to obscure or independent musicians. And while as an audiophile nothing beats lossless audio quality—owning headphones and hi-fi equipment to amplify the quality—I just can’t let go of Spotify and they know it, damn them. Lol

  2. Anonymous

    That is precisely why Spotify is reneging on their promise to provide lossless CD streaming music… Spotify is bogus.

  3. The Real Legend

    Spotify is winning the streaming war due to it being first to capitalize on it, its social integration, superior algorithm, and its speed expanding to new markets.

    Spotify the entire time has been quick to undercut competition by making special deals and such price lowering schemes.

    This is why it’s likely Spotify won’t lose market share to Apple Music despite the actual music sounding better on the latter’s platform.

    HiFi is only coveted by a minority of the market, unfortunately.

    • Will

      Partially true. First to market doesn’t mean sustained market dominance, especially with fickle consumers. There have been many companies, especially in the digital music space, who were first to market but lost it all.

  4. Joe Smith

    I’m annoyed and currently enjoying a two month free Tidal tryout. I may switch if Spotify fails to make good on this feature. Tidal’s interface is pretty close and the CD quality tier is very affordable.

    • Mike W

      With Tidal continuing its adoption of MQA, a lossy streaming scheme, there’s not much to be gained by moving from Spotify to Tidal.

    • Jim Ramsey

      Agreed. I’m doing the same with Amazon Music HD and the sound quality improvement is noticeable (up from free Spotify). Will likely move from free Spotify to the AMHD. Certainly a good deal if you’re already a Prime member. Especially so if you go for Amazon’s single player plan (<$4/mo).

  5. AJ

    Good to see all these ‘music fans’ – looking at you Jim Ramsey in particular – competing for the cheapest ‘subscription’.
    If any of you seek to make money out of musicians for non-music services then shame on you.
    Even if you are simply ‘fans’, paying almost nothing for ‘all-you-can-eat’, on-demand music is pitiful and pathetic and cheap.
    Now you want not only cheap but also best quality for cheap? Jeez.
    (shakes head)

    • Ross

      AJ, why would anyone want to pay more than they HAVE to for any service? We, the users, didn’t create these streaming services. The industry did and they are what they are. If they kill the goose (music artists) that laid the golden egg (consumer interest in buying music and merch) then that will happen, but it won’t be because users are being cost conscious trying to get the most bang for their bucks.

      What is aggravating is being lied to. Spotify never should have made such a big deal out of lossless back in February if they weren’t going to deliver on it.

      I would happily pay a *few* bucks more than Amazon Music prices to get Spotify’s deeper catalog of music. Many audiophiles would and be very happy about it. But I’m not going to pay Tidal prices for it either.

    • Ross

      AJ, many of us who love streaming discover NEW bands. If I like one in particular, or I listen to any band a LOT, I’ll usually either buy one of their CDs, or merch like a T-shirt which pays them far more than they get from 1000 people streaming their music. Yes, the streaming services and the record labels should adopt a “user centric” model of revenue distribution where my monthly subscription goes ONLY to those artists I actually listened to. That would be fair. At the end of the day, it is up to us music fans to support the bands and singers creating music we like.

    • Nick

      There is nothing wrong with looking at all the options streaming Hifi music at the lowest cost possible. The issue you raise should be directed at the streaming service if you do not agree with how they pay musicians. There should be no shaming a persons view when it comes to paying for music.

  6. Ross

    Spotify Hi-Fi won’t be “free”. They will need to offer it at their current subscription price. There’s a big difference there. How they divvy up that money and how much of it actually goes to music artists is the pity. Only one service (Deezer I think) allocates the money you give them, after their overhead costs, to the artists you actually listen to over the course of a month instead of some weird label model that allocates some of your money to artists you may never listen to.

    Spotify promised H-Fi by the “end of the year” and that is fast approaching.

    Did they lie to us? If so, I’ll switch to Amazon. Apple Music, so far, makes it too hard with too many “gotchas” to get their Hi-Fi lossless stream into your stereo in an easy, non-clunky way.

    I’ll miss Spotify’s deeper catalog, but I WANT and was looking forward to the lossless streaming they had promised. What I do is up to them. Podcasts are lame.

    Music is all I care about, not media “personalities” pontificating on B.S. topics.

    • Ross

      Qobuz gets good reviews. But I need something that would work natively on my Denon A/V Receiver and nope, they don’t have an app on it. I assume I could get a Qobuz app and use my iPAD as a streamer to a DAC and then on to a preamp in another setup I have in the living room on my better system.

      That’s the one sticking point for many of these other services…no native apps while “Spotify Connect” is everywhere, just waiting…

      There needs to be more integration of all these streaming services to make them easy to use and gapless playback supported.

    • Eric S

      Yeah, I was wondering why that was conspicuously absent in the list of alternatives. Qobuz is working on Connect functionality, and in the meantime I can play from their library using the Bluesound app to my Node 2i. I didn’t care for the native Qobuz app on Android, but the iOS version is solid and can take advantage of Airplay (not HiRez but CD quality anyway).

  7. Damnrascal

    I’ve been wanting lossless Spotify for as long as I’ve had a subscription, thinking that at any moment they will finally flip the switch. I thought they heard voice of the people, the writing on the wall…. I think their calculators must be broken.

    We shouldn’t have to pay more for lossless, it’s FINALLY becoming the norm. Spotify has was most don’t- the biggest catalogue, a good interface, and integration in most digital audio equipment. People are using streaming solutions like Tidal BECAUSE they are lossless. So… lossless Spotify will bring the boys to the yard.

    Spotify needs to evolve. Finally. It’s friggin Christmas 2021 for god’s sake.

    • Ross

      Yes to everything you said! With every other service having lossless as an option now (except maybe YouTube or Pandora maybe), it is inexcusable for Spotify NOT to at this point. It’s like a car manufacturer not offering AC here in 2021.

      I know not everyone is an audiophile like us. We are indeed a niche audience. But even the great unwashed will subconsciously enjoy and get more out of better sound quality.

      And with Bluetooth finally able to support CD quality lossless streaming (if we buy new phones and new headphones with that new capability) the future looks and sounds bright.

      But not if Spotify keeps pushing lossy OGG files. Ugh.

  8. monofoto

    I’ve waited 10 months for Spotify to deliver on its promise of lossless music, or at least some update as to its intentions. There has been NOTHING, other than increasingly pre-eminent displays and intrusion of podcasts.
    Am now very happily trialling Qobuz and enjoying lossless and hi-res music. Other alternatives exist, Amazon, Apple, Deezer. If you want hifi, why wait for Spotify? Trial other services and use Spotify free if you need your Spotify ‘fix’. Why show loyalty when there is little reciprocal loyalty shown?

  9. Jim Ramsey

    Jan 2, 2022 and no Spotify Hi-Fi. I’ve started my trial of Amazon Music HD as an upgrade to Spotify (free) and some observations: 1) Music on my primary amp/speakers is noticeably better, 2) music via distributed audio into other zones (ceiling speakers for background) shows no significant difference, 3) Spotify app via Yamaha MusicCast is much better integrated, 4) UI is different between the two but likely not a deal-breaker either way. Bottom line – will upgrade to AMHD primarily due to advantage in item 1.

  10. Barry

    I have Spotify and Apple — Apple is clearly superior sonically.

    I complained about losing the lyrics years ago and they promised “something big” was in the works. I see that they now (5 years later) have lyrics and it seems they will do anything to avoid providing high quality music (there are plenty of podcast outlets).

    Selection and ability to find music is better on Spotify but listening to music on Spotify is sometimes painful.