Spotify talks lossless and it's not great news for Hi-Fi fans

A senior Spotify exec speaks with T3 about its HiFi Lossless plans

Daniel Ek - Spotify
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

Spotify has revealed that it is likely to add lossless audio to its streaming app and service, but contrary to recent rumours, you shouldn't expect it to arrive anytime soon. It certainly doesn't seem to be a priority.

Speaking with the company's vice president of business affairs, David Kaefer, T3 learned that the much-requested feature is still being discussed internally: "We're always looking at sound quality," he said.

"I think it could launch at some point."

However, Kaefer suggested that it's not something that will benefit most Spotify users: "The thing that I would say on lossless is that a lot of people don't appreciate it is a concept that works more for people with specific home speakers.

"And, if you think about where people really listen today, 98% of the time they're listening on headphones. A lot of lossless does not work across Bluetooth."

David Kaefer - Spotify

(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

That's not to say it won't arrive eventually. But, Kaefer believes that it'll only happen if the streaming service finds a way to make the audio sound demonstrably better, so that users can easily hear any improvements: "Sometimes, I think people have been sold on audio formats that are not perceptibly better. We're reluctant to play into that.

"If we bring something forward, we want a large percentage of our users to really notice it and value the difference."

We were chatting with the Spotify executive prior to the launch of the company's new Audiobooks in Premium service. Kaefer is head of Spotify's audiobook business, which now provides 15 hours of free book access to Premium subscribers each month.

We also asked him if lossless could improve the quality of book listening too: "On the music side, it's a topic. On audiobooks, I'm not sure we've seen demand for that," he explained.

"But you know, some audiobooks have higher production values, they have multiple voice actors, or they have other sound elements that they're incorporating.

"You know, we'll talk with the industry and we'll take a look if consumers really value that."

Audiobooks in Premium is available to Spotify Premium subscribers in the UK and Australia now, with the service launching in the US too this winter.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.