Will Spotify HiFi happen, and do we care?

One of the charming things about Spotify is their unpredictability. You never know if what they say will happen will happen, whether they’ll stick with their massive investment in a person or podcast or what they do with your personal data. But they’re mighty cheap and my favourite companion while I’m doing chores.

Apparently the “cheap” part is causing issues. I pay just $15.99 AUD a month for a duo account, with no ads, that allows my son and I pretty much unlimited access to music and podcasts.

Investors think the subscription amounts are not bringing in enough revenue and music industry leaders think the sound quality offered by Spotify isn’t good enough. As I’m listening and cooking dinner to a backdrop of household noise, I am deeply satisfied with both.

In February 2021 Spotify announced that Spotify HiFi was on its way to premium subscribers. May that year, coincidentally on the same day, Apple Music and Amazon gazumped Spotify by both offering high res, lossless audio music tracks for no extra change. I will note that both also increased their standard monthly subscription costs by $1 in the US and £1 in the UK per month late last year.

All the while Spotify have kept the blurb about HiFi coming on their website and chosen not to talk about it, if asked.

This week Bloomberg (subscription required) have revived the conversation saying that Spotify has a product in the works called “Supremium” that will include HiFi audio quality and expanded access to audiobooks, at possibly double the current standard subscription rate.

We shall see.

We do know that Spotify won’t renew Archetypes, the Meghan Markle podcast, under her and Prince Harry’s Archewell umbrella. The partnership was supposed to yield so much more than one podcast and a holiday episode. The parting was apparently a mutual decision.

Spotify is sticking with the Joe Rogan Experience. Unlike Markles’ 12 episodes total, Rogan produces somewhere in the vicinity of ten hours audio a week.

My instincts tell me that now somewhat normal life has resumed Spotify is going to spend much less trying to tie talent to them and equally only keep a partnership going if they can see a clear return on their investments.

I certainly won’t be paying double for a not distinguishably better sound. Hence also why I think Spotify is getting its ducks in a row so whatever the changes are, the value proposition is one that we will want to continue subscribing to.

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