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In February 2021, Spotify announced that it would be launching a new tier of music subscription called Spotify HiFi, with the emphasis on higher-quality streams. However, the end of 2021 came and went with no launch.

It seemed that Spotify’s plans had been complicated by Apple Music’s addition of spatial and lossless audio at no additional cost to subscribers – a move that immediately spurred Amazon Music abandon its own higher-priced HD tier.

Back to the drawing board? Perhaps, but judging from a leaked customer survey, Spotify may not have given up on the idea of charging more for hi-res music. One former subscriber shared on Reddit screenshots of a surveyasking them what might persuade them to rejoin, including a $19.99-a-month ‘Platinum’ subscription including “HiFi” and “Studio Sound” features, along with “Audio Insights”.

“Does this mean it’s FINALLY about to happen?” asked the redditor, although the sensible answer to that question is “not necessarily”. Surveys to test the waters for new ideas and models do not always signify short-term launch plans, and fairly often whatever’s being floated does not even happen in the longer term.

Still, the ‘Platinum’ branding indicates that Spotify’s plans may be fairly advanced. A twice-the-price subscription might be welcomed by campaigners who’ve criticised Spotify for largely sticking with its $9.99 individual subscription price since its launch in 2008.

However, it would be a bold (read: risky) move after Apple Music seemingly swept away any foundations for music services to charge a premium for higher-quality audio, before Amazon Music fast-followed.

Perhaps including other features alongside hi-res music will help. On that note, count us very intrigued by the customer survey’s mention of “Library Pro” and “Playlist Pro” as additional features in the mooted Platinum plan, alongside “Limited-ad Spotify podcasts”. What would ‘pro’ playlists and music library features look like? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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