What You Need to Know About Spotify HiFi

As it continues to expand it services and remain competitive, Spotify announced during its Stream On event that Spotify HiFi is coming soon to select markets this year.

Spotify HiFi is one of the most-requested features by users, and this upcoming features will give Premium subscribers access to CD-quality, lossless audio to all devices and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers.

With this move, Spotify is set to compete against Tidal, which has been offering CD-quality audio at 1141kbps or up to 9216kbps in Master Quality Audio. Currently, Spotify Premium’s high quality stream tops out at 320kbps–which is also the highest bitrate standard for the MP3 format.

While Spotify has yet shared any details about its upcoming high fidelity audio streaming service, it will most likely use FLAC, a lossless audio format that offers CD-like audio quality while being half the size of a normal CD track. Here’s what you need to know about Spotify HiFi:

You might need specific hardware for it

Since Spotify HiFi is expected to use a different format, we still do not know if there are any hardware limitations to fully appreciate the audio streaming platform’s lossless music stream. In the case with Tidal, you will need a specific DAC (digital-to-analog converter) to stream music beyond HiFi audio’s 1411kbps limit.

The same can be said with headphones and earphones, as not all wired or wireless cans natively support HiFi (or the higher tier Hi-Res) audio. Currently, there are only a few headphones and earphones that support it, and they are not exactly cheap–expect to spend at least Php 4k for a pair of wired earphones that support Hi-Res audio.

Not all songs will be available out of the bat

Another factor that needs to be considered is the music library that will be offered. Despite Spotify having over 50 million songs in its library, only a few of them have their master copies ready for be used for its upcoming HiFi audio service. Not all artists and recording companies submit master copy-like audio files to streaming companies.

For context, rival Apple Music has Apple Digital Master–a more upscaled version of Apple Music streams that offer studio-like audio quality–but the said feature is only available for select albums and songs AND only if you purchase them through the iTunes store.

It is not going to be cheap

Currently, Tidal’s HiFi plan is priced at $19.99(~Php 980), while Amazon Music HD is priced at $14.99(~Php 730) and $2 less for Prime customers. The current Spotify Premium plan is priced at Php 129 or around $3, so expect to pay at least $10(~Php 500) for Spotify HiFi if it becomes official in the Philippines.

That’s a pretty steep price for a third world country that’s most likely contented with the usual Spotify Premium audio stream. With that put into consideration, Spotify HiFi might only be availed by audio enthusiasts and not the casual music listener.

Will you consider subscribing to Spotify HiFi when it becomes available in the Philippines?

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