Spotify HiFi is here to take on Tidal with lossless streaming

spotify hifi
(Image credit: Spotify)

Spotify is finally adding high-quality, lossless streaming to its service, in a move that could entice Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon Music Unlimited users over to the popular music streaming platform.

Spotify HiFi will be available to Premium subscribers in "select regions" and will deliver music as "CD-quality, lossless audio format[s] to your device and Spotify Connect enabled speakers".

No firm release date has been announced yet, but Spotify says that it will be rolled out in these (yet to be confirmed) regions "later this year", with the company teasing that it will have "more details to share soon".

Pricing is also yet to be announced, but as an optional add-on for Premium users, it probably won't be free. 

Aside from its free basic streaming tier that comes with adverts, Spotify Premium is the cheapest tier available, costing $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99 per month. 

In an effort to undercut the competition, Spotify could price its HiFi streaming tier at around $12.99 / £12.99 / AU$16 per month, compared to Amazon's $14.99 / £14.99 and Tidal's $19.99 / £19.99 / AU$23.99 Hi-Res streaming tiers.

About time

Spotify says that "high quality music streaming is consistently one of the most requested new features by our users", and it's little wonder when you consider how many other streaming services have already offered this for years.

Up until now, Spotify audio was limited at 320kbps, unlike CDs, which max out at 1,411kbps – and the upgrade should offer far higher levels of detail and clarity for those with discerning ears. 

The announcement could seriously worry the likes of Tidal and Amazon Music Unlimited, even though it doesn't quite hit the quality levels of Hi-Res, higher bit-rate audio those services offer. Spotify's popularity could well mean the difference in sound quality isn't enough to jump ship.

It puts even more space between Apple Music and the rest of the competition, many of whom won't have this higher-quality tier to subscribe to.

Whether Spotify will dominate the 'HD listening' streaming market as it has done with regular streaming will largely depend on how much it decides to charge for the privilege – and if it can undercut the competition, its easy-to-navigate interface, excellent playlist curation, and wealth of songs could cement its place as the world's most popular streaming service for years to come.

Editor's note: this story previously stated that Spotify HiFI would offer Hi-Res Audio. This mistake has now been rectified.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.