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Spotify ‘HiFi’ has been ready to launch for over a year, but it’s being held back

It’s been two years since Spotify announced its “HiFi” offering with better quality streaming, but it’s still not available. But, apparently, the feature has been ready to go for over a year now, and is just not being released.

Spotify HiFi was announced in February 2021 with the promise that the feature would arrive by the end of that year. But of course, it’s now been well over a year since that deadline passed, and Spotify has been completely silent on why we haven’t seen any progress.

According to The Verge, Spotify HiFi has actually been essentially ready to launch for “more than a year,” with technical work mostly complete, the library filled with lossless audio, and even Spotify employees having tested the feature.

Why the hold up?

Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström said in an interview with The Verge that the feature is being held back as a result of industry changes. Söderström explains:

We announced it, but then the industry changed for a bunch of reasons. We are going to do it, but we’re going to do it in a way where it makes sense for us and for our listeners. The industry changed and we had to adapt.

We want to do it in a way where it works for us from a cost perspective as well. I’m not allowed to comment on our label agreements, nor on what other players in the industry did, for obvious reasons.

Söderström’s comments don’t directly point the finger in any one direction, but it’s pretty clear what he’s referring to. Not long after Spotify’s announcement of HiFi, Apple revealed that it would launch lossless music streaming to Apple Music subscribers free of charge. Originally, HiFi was planned as an add-on for Spotify Premium, but it’s quite clear based on what Söderström said, that Spotify still plans to make revenue from the feature, but perhaps in a new way that doesn’t shed subscribers to Apple Music. The Verge adds that HiFi may “eventually appear as part of a more expensive plan — likely one that also includes spatial audio/Dolby Atmos and other perks related to audiobooks and podcasts.”

When HiFi might finally arrive, though, is still shrouded in mystery. But it’s good to see it hasn’t been scrapped entirely.

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