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Spotify adds subscribers, still hasn’t added high-res audio

Spotify on an iPhone.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Spotify today announced its third-quarter 2023 earnings, and with it came news of an increase in subscribers year over year, as well as for the quarter. But still MIA is any sort of high-resolution audio, despite recent (and persistent) rumors.

“It was a truly stellar quarter,” CEO Daniel Ek said on the company’s earnings call, shortly after it was announced that the streaming music service reached 574 million monthly active users, up just 4% for the quarter, but 26% year over year. Premium subscribers now total 226 million, up 16% year over year and 3% for the quarter.

Spotify also managed a sharp turnaround in operating income in the third quarter, recording 32 million euros in the black versus the 247 million-euro loss the previous quarter. Spotify also weathered a price increase in July, which brought its monthly cost in line with competitors.

That’s all good news for investors. And Spotify was quick to talk up improvements for users, including the Spotify apps themselves, as well as content like books and podcasts.

Still absent, however, was any talk of the long-awaited “lossless CD-quality” streaming option Spotify announced in February 2021. There has been some chatter of late of a “Super Premium” tier that could be priced around $20 a month. But the third-quarter news came and went without any real movement.

The lack of lossless news isn’t all that surprising given that Spotify obviously hasn’t been in a hurry to roll it out. And maybe it doesn’t need to, given that it’s larger than the competitors that do have high-res options — namely Apple Music. (Apple doesn’t release subscriber numbers, but estimates put Apple Music numbers somewhere around 20% of Spotify.)

Ek did barely touch on the idea of a lossless tier in the second-quarter earnings call, further slow-rolling things. “HiFi remains something that we think has value,” he said. “But it has value to more aficionados in the streaming market. And we’re interested in, obviously, how we can use that as one tool to, in the future, increase our value even further.”

In other words, not yet. If ever.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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