Spotify May Be Preparing to Announce ‘Music Pro’ Lossless Plan

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The saga of Spotify’s elusive “HiFi” plan could soon come to a climax, as new evidence has surfaced that the music streaming giant is getting ready to launch its long-rumored lossless music tier.

Three years ago, Spotify announced a HiFi lossless streaming tier would be coming in late 2021, throwing down the gauntlet to Apple Music to follow suit. About three months later, Apple rose to the challenge, not only announcing that it would be converting its entire catalog to lossless but that it wasn’t going to charge subscribers extra for the privilege.

It was a bold move that would redefine the streaming industry. Seven years earlier, Tidal launched as the first music streaming company to provide high-resolution audio, but it did so at a premium price — double that of a standard Tidal subscription.

That eventually set the bar for other streaming services to follow suit. Amazon rolled out Amazon Music HD in 2019 for $15/month — a lower premium of only $5 more than its regular price. Spotify was clearly planning to do the same with its hifi tier, “but then the industry changed,” as Gustav Söderström, Spotify co-president, remarked last year.

Söderström’s comments followed two years of relative quiet on the part of his company as it scrambled to figure out how it was going to roll out a lossless music service in a market where the old rules no longer applied.

It was a shot that was heard around the global streaming industry. Apple had just changed the rules of the game.

Other streaming companies that were offering lossless tracks eventually adjusted to the new reality. Amazon moved at lightning speed to eliminate its higher-priced HD tier the very same day that Apple made its announcement. As the company that introduced high-res audio, Tidal held on for somewhat longer but finally gave in earlier this month, dropping its more expensive plan and making its best audio available to all subscribers at the standard $10.99 price.

Spotify ‘Music Pro’

By the end of 2021, the entire Apple Music catalog was lossless, and Spotify HiFi was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until last year that Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman revealed that the streamer was still working on a pricier “Supremium” tier for those interested in high-fidelity audio.

It seemed like a somewhat cheeky move on Spotify’s part in a world where lossless audio quality is now table stakes. However, it also appeared that the streamer was planning to try and sweeten the pot by offering a few other perks in the hopes that it could entice customers to pay the higher price for more than just a higher quality audio experience.

Still, despite sources saying that the plan would launch in at least some test markets by the end of 2023, it never arrived, and we heard little more about it until Bloomberg reported on Spotify’s planned 2024 price hikes earlier this month.

Now, the folks at The Verge have reported on some code snippets in Spotify’s latest Android build that reveal the service may be coming soon, not as a separate plan but rather as an add-on to the standard Spotify Premium tier.

That’s a subtle distinction, but it suggests that users will be able to tack it on (and, presumably, take it off) without the hassle of changing to an entirely different plan. The add-on is listed as “Music Pro” and will apparently include a new remix feature to let subscribers play with their tracks and create their own remixes to share on social media.

The code snippets were uncovered by Redditor Hypixely, and they’re chock full of references to lossless streaming, including strings like “lossless has arrived” and “Your favorite music in 16-bit and 24-bit high-fidelity sound.”

In addition to lossless streaming and remixes, the Music Pro add-on may include some patented headphone optimization features for specific headphones — Apple’s AirPods are called out in the code as one supported model — and provide more advanced library filtering. Spotify is working on AI-generated playlists that could become another perk for Music Pro subscribers, either entirely or by limiting how many AI playlists can be generated in a given time without the add-on.

While these new code references suggest that Spotify is getting very close to unveiling its lossless tier, there’s still no official word on when this will happen; it’s possible that the streaming company still has to line up a few other pieces before it’s ready to turn the key, but if it’s smart it will want to at least announce it before June when Apple could take the wind out of Spotify’s sails again.

Several reports suggest that AI-generated Apple Music playlists will be among the new generative AI features coming in iOS 18. If Apple introduces this feature, it’s almost certain to offer it to Apple Music subscribers at no extra charge. That could make that aspect of Music Pro a tougher sell, although that also depends on whose AI algorithms are better at selecting music.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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