Is Spotify Premium a good deal? Apparently not, according to a recent report From Kantar Research. In it, the agency noted a loss of 1 million subscribers in the first quarter in Great Britain, many of them younger listeners looking to save money as inflation hit 9% in the UK and the cost of living continued to be on an upward trajectory.
While the drop in Spotify numbers may be temporary, or a result of the inflation levels of monthly subscribers the services regularly experience, the news reminds us of the fact that Spotify doesn’t quite compete at a high level with other major streaming companies like Apple MusicAnd the Amazon Music UnlimitedAnd the Tides. It also comes in the wake Argument It includes the service’s most popular podcast host, Joe Rogan. Maybe it’s really time to rethink Spotify.
Where is Spotify HiFi?
Regardless of the turmoil and controversy, the biggest issue Spotify is facing at the moment is with sound quality. Back in February 2021, the company announced that it would add Spotify Hi-Fi, an upgrade that would bring lossless CD-quality audio to the $9.99 per month Premium subscription tier. But as of February 2022, Spotify Hi-Fi He did not arrive yetFour months later, we’re still waiting for him.
What Spotify offers to its Premium subscribers are bitrate-hungry streams that use lossy compression – the data in the original audio is discarded to reduce the file size of the tracks. While throttling bitrates from the 1,441kbps needed for CD-quality to the current 320kbps for Spotify might have made sense in the old days of Napster and iTunes, today’s home and mobile internet bandwidth easily accommodates higher-quality streams. , so there’s really no excuse for that.
Reality check: If you’re primarily listening through laptop speakers or a set of cheap earbuds at the gym, Spotify’s 320kbps MP3 level streams will sound just fine. Uncompromised sound with CD quality or better fidelity really makes a difference when you’re listening with high-performance headphones or separate speakers.
And what about spatial sound?
Besides offering only lossy audio, Spotify lacks a library of music mixed in Dolby Atmos (also known as Spatial Audio). Competing services like Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Tidal offer more or less spatial audio, a compelling feature that can really improve certain tracks for listening on headphones (and in some cases on surround speaker systems). Unlike Spotify HiFi, the company hasn’t even dropped a mention of adding Spatial Audio in the past, so it’s clearly not on its radar.
Here are three better, and definitely better, music services to check out as an alternative to Spotify:
Amazon Music Unlimited
For $8.99 per month, Amazon Music Unlimited gives you access to 90 million HD (lossless CD quality) and more than 7 million Ultra HD (24-bit/192kHz) tracks plus thousands of songs mixed in Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio. While Amazon offers both desktop and mobile apps, a wide range of streaming speakers and audio and video devices also offer built-in support for Amazon Music HD.
For the $9.99 per month you’ll pay for Spotify Premium, Apple Music offers lossless CD quality and HD audio streaming at up to 24bit/192kHz. Apple has also led the way in shipping with Spatial Audio, making it a priority to add new and old mixed albums and tracks in Dolby Atmos on a weekly basis and present them in a well-organized and easy-to-find way on Apple Music desktop and mobile apps. While Apple Music lacks integration with most third-party streaming-capable speakers and AV devices (an area where Spotify has the upper hand over spotify connection)the company broadcast The wireless protocol for broadcasting audio and video from computers and mobile devices is widely supported.
Tidal HiFi ($9.99 per month) has been in the streaming game longer than both Amazon and Apple. It started in 2015 offering CD quality and in 2017 added HD audio on its Tidal HiFi Plus ($19.99/month) class that uses MQA (Main Quality Authentication) technology. The downside to MQA is that you’ll need to use either the company’s desktop app to listen to Hi-Res audio, or an external DAC with MQA support. But the good news is that Tidal has integration with a wide range of streaming amplifiers and A/V electronics, and Tidal HiFi Plus offers Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio tracks in its library.