Discover more from Legendary Scoop
It's Friday, and I'm ready for Spotify "Supremium"
Spotify's biggest downside could be gone by the end of the year. And I'm here for it.
Welcome back to Friday. If you’ve paid attention at all to the tech news circuit this week, you’d know that there weren’t many headlines… at all. This past Monday, the U.S. celebrated Juneteenth, and any time there’s a federal holiday in the States, you can bet that tech companies will go lax on announcements the days following.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s a total lack of stuff to talk about. Bloomberg came out with a report suggesting that Spotify will finally be adding hi-fi streaming by the end of the year, which I personally find to be the biggest news of the week. I’ve also got a couple of other stories to highlight, as well as the various reviews I’ve written and published this week. (Hope you’re ready for over 4,200 words on a flip phone.)
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Okay, this isn’t the real name of Spotify with hi-fi. It’s apparently the codename of the new tier Spotify will introduce that includes hi-fi, at least according to Bloomberg’s Ashely Carmen. The feature, which was originally supposed to ship in 2021, has faced difficulty getting off the ground at Spotify; the company had a rollout plan for hi-fi to execute, but Apple and Amazon’s launch of lossless audio on their own streaming services—for no additional cost—forced the platform to re-evaluate its approach and, ultimately, delay the rollout indefinitely.
One would think that a re-evaluation would lead to them bundling lossless streaming with a standard subscription, but it seems that Spotify will instead stick with its original plan of offering a separate tier with access to higher-fidelity sound. I imagine there’s something stopping them from just offering it outright like Apple and Amazon do, and it likely has to do with their margins. Spotify co-president Gustav Söderström told The Verge back in March that while they still intend to ship HiFi, they need to do so “where it works for us from a cost perspective as well.”
It sounds like either Spotify can’t afford lossless at $9.99 per month, or it simply wants to profit off higher-fidelity streaming to benefit the rest of its business. Apple and Amazon both increased their prices to $10.99 per month soon after releasing lossless support, while the rumored “Supremium” tier would likely cost $19.99 per month.
That’s a big difference in pricing, and it would be difficult to convince people to subscribe if all it meant was lossless audio (which many people can’t decipher compared to normal quality anyway). Bloomberg says Spotify is thinking about bundling audiobook access alongside hi-fi, which could be an interesting play against Audible. But it sounds more like a concession to fluff out Supremium than a strategic move to dominate the audiobook market.
It’s a tricky situation for Spotify, one that doesn’t seem to have a clear path forward, at least not yet. Bloomberg says the hi-fi tier, however it shakes out, will likely roll out by the end of the year, starting with markets outside the U.S.
Here’s where I’m at: I do not care how lossless audio comes to Spotify. I don’t care if it’s bundled in my subscription price, I don’t care if I have to pay more, and I don’t care if I’m bombarded by audiobooks if I sign up for it. I just want it.
I’m a firm believer that Spotify is the superior music streaming platform. The app is better, playlists are better, that weird AI DJ is awesome, and the experience is consistent across each platform. It’s simply impossible to say any of that in the context of Apple Music, and it’s next to impossible for Amazon Music or YouTube Music (although their apps are a bit better across platforms).
I’ve used Spotify for as long as I can remember, and I have no plans to switch away from it. However, I do have an Apple Music subscription, and I’ll occasionally fire up an album to listen to on my AirPods. With lossless audio enabled, the sound quality is far better than what Spotify produces. Everything is crisp and clear, with no sign of muffled high-ends or wet vocals. You simply can’t get that from Spotify, even with “Streaming quality” set to “Very high.”
Not everyone can hear the difference, which I’m mindful of. But I’ve done so much listening to the same exact music across different streaming services, devices, and headphones that my ears are tuned to hear the finest nuances, and Apple Music simply sounds the best.
All I want is that experience on Spotify. As long as hi-fi eventually ships, I don’t care how I have to get it. I’m willing to pay anything for it because, at this rate, I’m starting to use Apple Music more and more simply because of the sound quality.
Oh, and if anyone working at Spotify is reading this, here’s an idea to help fluff out your Supremium tier: include a feature to host local files in a cloud library. I’m getting tired of syncing them from my Mac to my iPhone exclusively at home. Apple has iCloud Music Library, you guys could do Spotify Cloud Library (or something like that). I just want a way to sync all of my mixtapes from Datpiff and other songs I’ve collected over the years that aren’t on streaming platforms, and your current way of doing that is absolute trash.
Once again, just like hi-fi, I don’t care how it comes. I just want it.
Three stories worth reading
This breakdown of the Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match: Yes, you read that correctly. Two of the most prominent and influential figures in social media (and the world), Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have both agreed to duke it out in a cage match. I’m linking Julian Mark’s piece on The Washington Post for a breakdown of how it came about (read: tweets and Instagram Stories) and what a potential fight could look like.
This interview by Nilay Patel with Gary Vaynerchuk: I feel like it was inevitable that serial entrepreneur Gary Vee would land on Decoder from The Verge eventually. He finally has, and it’s a must-watch. (A quote from Gary to munch on: “I’m in the business of Batphone.”)
This article on Reddit’s latest problem - communities going NSFW: Reddit hasn’t backed down from their API changes which will result in huge fines for third-party Reddit apps to pay if they want to continue to function, and many users of the platform don’t like. Their latest plan of attack? Keep communities open, but by marking them NSFW, which removes the ability for Reddit to advertise in them and locks them for users under 18 years old.
I’ve got some cool stuff in the pipeline, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!