Spotify in February announced plans to introduce a new “HiFi” premium tier sometime in 2021, and while the company declined to offer a date, there’s reason to believe a launch could be imminent, especially in the wake of Apple Music’s lossless tier announcement on Monday.
In a timely discovery, hints of Spotify’s lossless HiFi audio streaming service have again been spotted this week by Reddit user themonarc, who shared their finding with the accompanying image above.
According to the Reddit poster, a hidden HiFi menu was accessed in the Spotify app by “quickly tapping the glitched icon” that briefly appeared on the Now Playing screen upon launch.
Doing so brought up a separate screen explaining that the HiFi option supports 16-bit 44.1kHz streaming over wired earphones. The selected track didn’t play in Hi-Fi quality, however, indicating that the server-side functionality isn’t yet finalized.
First reports that Spotify was working on a lossless audio version of its streaming service actually appeared over three years ago, when the company started testing the option with a small group of users.
Back then, promotional screens pitched the “Spotify Hi-Fi” tier as a $5-$10 upgrade to a standard Spotify subscription. However, Spotify will likely be hard pressed to justify a paid-for upgrade, now that Apple Music has announced that its lossless offering, set to drop in June, will be free to existing subscribers.
Notably, Amazon Music has already acted to stem a potential audiophile exodus by offering its own Hi-Fi plan as an option for existing subscribers at no extra cost. We’ve reached out to Spotify for any update on their own HiFi launch plans.