HD Audio At Last? Spotify Is Finally Set to Release An Upgraded Listening Add-On ‘Later This Year,’ Report Says

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spotify hifi
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The long-awaited Spotify HiFi offering is reportedly set to debut later in 2024 as part of an add-on package. Photo Credit: Mark Rohan

After years of speculation, Spotify is reportedly poised to add higher-quality audio later in 2024. But unlike on Apple Music and Amazon Music, subscribers may have to pay more, to the tune of at least $5 extra per month, for the long-awaited feature.

Another update concerning Spotify HiFi just recently entered the media spotlight, this time in a brief report from Bloomberg. As many observers and audiophiles undoubtedly know, it’s been years since Spotify first disclosed plans for upgraded audio quality.

But the 2021 additions of high-resolution audio by Amazon Music and Apple Music at no extra cost seemingly derailed those plans, and since then, rumors have swirled about when exactly Spotify will begin offering higher-definition listening. (That subscriptions have been climbing for Spotify all the while certainly hasn’t fueled a sense of urgency.)

In short, it previously appeared that HD audio would be part of a more expensive “Supremium” subscription. But in April, against the backdrop of Spotify’s decidedly far-reaching embrace of bundles, a Redditor’s code findings suggested that the platform intended to make HiFi one component of an add-on for existing subscribers, not a standalone plan. Separate HiFi leaks subsequently surfaced on Reddit in May.

Now, Bloomberg has shed additional light on this rumored “add-on for existing customers.”

Citing an anonymous and purportedly in-the-know person, the outlet indicated that the add-on will cost $5 or more per month, come with “better audio” as well as personalized playlisting features, and roll out “later this year.” All told, enabling the add-on will increase current subscribers’ monthly charges by an average of 40 percent, per the report.

Of course, it remains to be seen how many of Spotify’s 239 million or so subscribers will spring for the HD-audio option, which would follow price increases in the U.S. and the U.K.

Running with the estimated 40 percent price increase for higher-quality listening and other features, though, individual Spotify subscribers in the U.S. would be paying between $16 and $17 monthly.

That’s well above the $12.99 per month (and $129.99 annually) charged by Qobuz for its Studio tier, which supports 24-bit 192 kHz listening. Closer to 2024’s start, we took an in-depth look at leading streaming services’ audio capabilities.

Nevertheless, logic and evidence suggest that Spotify, which claims to be having success with audiobooks, will find some takers for the add-on out of the gate.

And needless to say, that means heightened revenue for the profit-minded service, which is already set to generate materially more in the U.S. between price increases and (assuming they survive legal challenges) bundling-classification changes. (The ongoing arrival of fresh plans and subscription options, including a music-only tier, could factor into Spotify’s defense against an MLC lawsuit.)

Bigger picture, Spotify’s highly ambitious aim of hitting $100 billion in annual revenue is still a distant goalpost; at the current exchange rate, Q1 revenue totaled $3.9 billion. However, aggressively upping prices, debuting new plans and add-ons, and embracing non-music formats may well help to make the objective a reality in the approaching years.