Spotify: UK broadband holding back lossless streaming

Spotify - waiting for the UK boradband to catch up
Spotify - waiting for the UK boradband to catch up

Spotify has revealed its reasoning behind the lack of lossless streaming from the service, explaining that it is all to do with the UK's current broadband infrastructure.

There has been a lot of talk about the UK's broadband woes, with the BBC noting that it is going to cost billions to bring 2Mbps speeds to the UK by 2012.

Speaking to Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Gustav Söderström, VP of Products at Spotify, explained: "We get the files from the labels in lossless format, in FLAC. But we don't stream them in lossless formats.

"This has more to do with the user experience based on current broadband and mobile internet networks."

"Streaming lossless files would consume very large amounts of bandwidth for people. It would also make Spotify much more prone to a bad user experience, with problems such as stuttering and the like, which is something that we pride ourselves in not having at all.

"So we have to try to manage the best audio quality offering with the best user experience. Higher audio quality with a bad user experience is not an option for us."

All about user experiece

When asked if lossless streaming was something Spotify was looking to achieve in the near future, Söderström noted: "Currently we offer the option of listening at 320kbps on Spotify Premium and we use the Ogg Vorbis codec, which is considered to be very good amongst audiophiles.

"We are always looking at how we can improve the service. At the moment there are more external factors that put the hold on very high bandwidth streaming. So as networks and infrastructure improve, then we are certainly going to be looking at that."

The read the full interview with Spotify is in issue 336 of Hi-Fi Choice, which is out now.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.