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Sound and Vision: Spotify Supremium isn’t doing enough to entice subscribers

OPINION: It hasn’t even arrived, but there’s plenty of people talking about Spotify’s long-awaited lossless audio tier. And it doesn’t sound like many are convinced by it.

More details leaked recently about what the Supremium tier was going to offer to customers, and in addition to lossless audio there will be AI playlists: the ability to sort through playlists via mood, activity, or genre, advanced mixing tools, and a souncheck feature that allows you to observe your habits in more detail.

I have to say, I don’t find that particularly interesting.

That’s not to say that these features will be rubbish, they may prove to be very good experiential features but I’m not feeling the excitement. If you’re someone who’s left Spotify for another service (one that includes higher quality audio), there’s not much here that would bring you back. If you’re on the Premium tier, aside from lossless audio, why would you switch to the pricier tier, unless you’re someone who likes to tinker and view your habits in greater detail?

Blame Apple?

I think Spotify (and other streaming services) have been placed in a chess ‘check’ position by Apple Music offering higher than lossless quality without upping the price.

Who’s to say that Apple won’t raise the price in the future, but as of now, it’s likely poaching customers from other services because it’s sitting on a price that’s comparatively less expensive and offering similar if not better quality.

Even those I’ve talked to who have been stalwart Spotify fans are eyeing other services. The frequent price rises over the past couple of years have made Spotify a less compelling option because in exchange for the mark up, we expect more features and better quality.

Spotify more or less feels as if it’s the same experience it’s always been.

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It needs something transformative, but from what I’ve read about the Supremium tier, it’s not doing it for me. Do I really care much about AI-generated playlists, will they be altogether different from what’s available to me now? Do I really feel the need to dig into my habits more – will it be the kind of thing I’m meant to share, so it gets people talking? Don’t we do that generally when we talk about music – the Trusted Reviews’ office gets quite lively when Charli XCX’s 1999 is brought up – and doesn’t the end-of-year Spotify Wrapped fulfil that purpose on a larger scale?

There’s a risk of Spotify feeling stale, and I’d wish they’d actually speak more openly about the forthcoming tier. I assume there are some restrictions limiting what they can say (what they are I do not know), but I feel it’s been so long in the pipeline (nearly three years!) that the new tier will drop without much fuss or fanfare.

Spotify has a huge subscriber base, with 220 million on its Premium tier alone. You would think that number makes the service an instant success, but Spotify often operates at a loss rather than a profit. It needs the Supremium tier to not just be a mild success but a convincing one, and as of right now it’s not doing much to convert hearts and minds.

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