Spotify announced back in September that it crossed 40 million paying customers, and it took the world's largest streaming service just five and a half months to pick up an additional 10 million subscribers. In a tweet, Spotify revealed that it crossed 50 million paid subscribers. 2016 was a great year for streaming services in general, and Spotify is now looking to continue its momentum by testing a lossless tier with CD quality audio.
Several users on Reddit got a prompt to upgrade to the lossless audio tier, with the prices ranging from $5 a month to $10 over the cost of a regular $10 premium subscription. Those that tried to activate the offer got a message saying, "this is not available in your area."
Based on the screenshot for the lossless tier, Spotify will offer CD quality audio, which will likely stream at 1411kbps. By contrast, the current premium plans top out at 320Kbps. It looks like Spotify is still figuring out the pricing and features for the lossless tier, as the screenshots detail different perks. One claims to offer all the premium features and CD quality audio for an additional $10 a month, while others also include discounts on limited-edition vinyls and access to exclusive pre-sale tickets for an added $5 a month over the premium plan.
By offering lossless audio, Spotify is setting its sights on Tidal, the Jay Z-owned music streaming service. Tidal's focus on Hi-Fi audio and its repertoire of artist-owners and exclusive content deals allowed it to stand out in this segment, but the service has had difficulties in gaining subscribers. Sprint picked up a 33% stake in the service earlier this year, and the carrier said that it will offer "exclusive content" to its 45 million customers.
Spotify has a significantly better recommendation engine and a larger music catalog — not to mention an interface that's actually usable, and by introducing a lossless option, the service will be looking to lure subscribers away from Tidal while maintaining a competitive advantage over Apple Music, which is limited to 256Kbps.