The Spotify HiFi debacle continues, but its Supremium tier will still reel me in – here’s why

Credit: Spotify

Spotify HiFi – or whatever the music streamer’s lossless audio offering ends up being called – seems both imminent, yet so far away, and frankly I’m tired of complaining about how frustrating it is that the music platform isn’t showing enough urgency over the much-delayed rollout.

Ever since Spotify first promised a ‘Supremium’ subscription tier with lossless, CD-quality audio, it’s had its users on the edge of their seats, myself included – but that was three years ago. I haven’t seen a rollout executed this poorly since Nicki Minaj released Pink Friday 2, and with every passing day Spotify puts more pressure on itself to deliver lossless audio that can compete against the likes of Apple Music and Tidal. But will I cave in and upgrade my subscription to the new HiFi tier when it’s finally launched? Oh, for sure.

An audiophile I’m not, but I am a Spotify fan – even if it’s gained a bad reputation for its poor artist compensation. I’ve never had an issue with Spotify’s current audio quality, but that’s down to owning a pair of Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, which really helps bring my favorite albums to life, so I’ll be interested to see just how much of a difference going lossless actually makes.

Sony XM5 left profile
Sony XM5 left profile

Forget more playlist tools, just give me the HiFi

It's been reported that the HiFi audio feature will become a $5 add-on (at least) to your regular subscription, which is almost offensive given that Tidal and Apple Music already offer lossless audio for no additional charge. But despite my irritation over both the delay and the pricing, I’m still curious to see what the upgraded experience looks like.

Spotify knows that it can’t get away with charging members extra for the pleasure of lossless audio without offering additional perks, and it’s rumored that HiFi subscribers will get access to exclusive playlist-making tools. These new playlist features will supposedly allow you to generate custom playlists for certain dates and times of the year, and over time will adapt to your in-app habits and tastes so that it can create playlists prompt-free.

Spotify AI DJ on a phone being held in a hand
Spotify AI DJ on a phone being held in a hand

While they’re potentially interesting, to me these rumored playlist tools just sound like more AI features, and in the past, I’ve been pretty vocal about how hit-or-miss AI in Spotify can be. Take AI DJ for example; it’s less a personalized radio station and more of an extension of my ‘On Repeat’ playlist. I also have issues with the AI Playlist feature, which throws me constant curveballs when I enter specific prompts.

Of course I’ll be experimenting with these tools, and I’ll be happy to be proved wrong, but I’ve already mastered the art of curating vibe-specific and themed playlists off my own back, and I know my own tastes, so I don’t think I need more generative AI to tell me what my playlists need.

Do Spotify’s social features make up for lack of HiFi?

If the Spotify lossless experience fails to hit the mark for me, it won’t be the end of the world. Spotify has other redeeming factors that are enough for me to stick around – I’ve said this before, but my Spotify Daylist is the gift that keeps on giving, and its hybrid functions of tracking my listening habits and helping me discover new artists are two of the reasons why Spotify is one of the best music streaming services.

Spotify daylist
Spotify daylist

Since I’m not a huge audiophile, I’ve settled with the idea that my standard Premium subscription could suffice if the HiFi features aren’t what I’m looking for, and I’m fine with missing out on lossless audio, at least for now. Or is that just me being naive?

However, perhaps Spotify has a surprise in store. Given the length of time it’s been working on the rollout, I can’t help wondering – and hoping – if the streamer is gearing up for a major announcement, perhaps unveiling some major upgrades and innovative features, beyond the improved audio experience and some new AI tricks. Maybe I’m setting myself up to be disappointed, or maybe Spotify will pleasantly surprise me. We’ll find out soon – maybe.

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