Spotify Supremium – Spotify announces HiFi (again) and why you shouldn’t care
Spotify is in the news again, announcing a HiFi tier (again). This news is not exactly earth-shattering. Spotify has promised a HiFi tier for years, and it has never materialized. But is it different this time? I say you shouldn’t care about Spotify’s HiFi “Supremium” announcement. That sounds snarky. I meant to sound that way, and I stand by it. Let’s discuss.
What Does Spotify HiFi Look Like?
Spotify has dubbed its new HiFi tier, Supremium. Aside from being a dumb name, Supremium is rumored to offer lossless music and an expanded selection of audiobooks, albeit at a higher price.
I don’t know anyone who uses Spotify to listen to audiobooks, and by many accounts, the interface is clunky and difficult to navigate. That said, maybe the lure of Supremium with a better selection of audiobooks could get more people to subscribe. But I doubt it.
Spotify announced HiFi way back in 2021 but never managed to pull the trigger. This time, the company is keeping very tight-lipped about its upcoming HiFi offering and when it will materialize, if ever.
As far as audio quality is concerned, Spotify has always said their HiFi tier will offer CD-quality lossless audio. But what form it takes is up in the air. If I were a betting man, I would guess Spotify would use FLAC or HD-ACC (which they already use) for their lossless audio codec. That means you won’t need a fancy DAC to get the most out of your headphones or speakers.
Why You Shouldn’t Care About Spotify Supremium?
First off, it’s just a rumor. Sure, the big boss of Spotify said that they would offer HiFi when “it makes sense” based on the market. Well, Apple beat them to the punch, offering lossless to all Apple Music subscribers for FREE. Oh, and they threw in spatial audio to boot. On top of that, Spotify is super late to the party. Apple, Amazon, Tidal, and Qobuzz (to name a few) all offer HiFi. Folks looking for HiFi streaming have probably found a service they like.
Secondly, most people won’t notice any difference by switching to Spotify HiFi. You heard me right. Most people, including audiophiles, can’t reliably tell the difference between lossy and lossless formats. And the other big factor is that most people aren’t listening to their mobile music on high-end headphones. I use a set of ZVOX AV30 earbuds for the gym and yard work. The Bluetooth connection wouldn’t let me stream hi-res lossless if I wanted. And I have no desire to pay a small fortune for headphones that can. Plus, I know I wouldn’t hear the difference.
And yes, we have HiFi setups in our houses, so Supremium makes sense. Right? Again, you probably won’t hear a difference between Spotify Premium (320kbps) and typical HiFi (1411kbps) bitrates. And yes, I realize that on paper HiFi looks superior, but in reality, it’s not that dramatic.
I think it’s obvious I am dubious about Spotify Supremium becoming a reality. I said earlier that you shouldn’t care about Spotify announcing HiFi (again) and I stand by it. Apple and Amazon offer HiFi for free, and most folks won’t (and don’t) hear the difference. If Supremium gives audiobooks for free, that might be a nice value-added feature, but it probably won’t be enough to get me (or most folks) to switch.