Spotify could use a win to change the narrative after a week of controversy, but it won’t come in the form of an imminent Spotify HiFi launch.
Under-fire CEO Daniel Ek – who is fighting fires over top artists leaving the platform due to alleged Covid misinformation on the Joe Rogan podcast – has no update on when the delayed lossless tier might launch.
Speaking during the company’s most recent earnings call this week, Ek said the delay is down to issues with licensing the music to play at the improved resolution.
He told Spotify investors (via 9to5Mac): “Many of the features that we talk about and especially that’s related to music ends up into licensing. So I can’t really announce any specific on this other than to say that we’re in constant dialogue with our partners to bring this to market.”
That’ll be no comfort to Spotify users, who’ve been waiting for the rollout to arrive since Spotify announced HiFi was coming almost one year ago. Since that February 2021 promise, Apple has both announced and enacted the launch of CD-quality lossless audio, with Spatial Audio options, at no extra cost to Apple Music subscribers.
Apple was seemingly able to reach the agreement with record companies without a lot of fuss, so one can only assume Spotify or the rights holders are seeking to drive a harder bargain for this deal. Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Music all have some sort of HiFi tier for subscribers to enjoy, so Spotify is now an outlier among its rivals.
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Essentially, these comments mean Spotify HiFi has been indefinitely delayed with little prospect of an imminent launch. Last month the company said as much, but today’s comments come from the horse’s mouth.
“We know that HiFi quality audio is important to you. We feel the same, and we’re excited to deliver a Spotify HiFi experience to Premium users in the future. But we don’t have timing details to share yet,” the company says on its Spotify Community website. “We will of course update you here when we can.”
With many Spotify users already looking for an excuse to depart the platform over its response to the Joe Rogan controversy, it could really do with getting the feature over the line and giving loyal subscribers a lift.