Popular online music service Spotify has announced that it will be upgrading the music streams available to paid-for premium users to 320Kbps from 160Kbps, slapping a CD-Quality label on the tracks in the process.
Going premium costs £9.99 per month and, until now, only allowed you to get rid of the advertisement, exclusive access to pre-releases and concert ticket lotteries plus the ability to create, share and collaborate on play lists and share links to music.
Spotify will be using an Ogg Vorbis Q9 codec and premium users have been advised to change their settings in their preference settings to "enable high bitrate". The more popular tracks will be updated first followed by the whole database within the next few months.
A 320kbps is the highest streaming quality currently available from any online service and will allow, for the first time ever, audiophiles to consider ditching their CD collections. The BBC iPlayer in comparison had a bitrate of 500Kbps when it was using the On2 VP6 codec.
Spotify has managed to get well over 1.5 million users over the last four months and is growing at the rate of one new subscribers every two seconds. More than half of Spotify users are actually from the UK and the online music service could start rolling out in other countries soon.
Commenting the release, Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify said that “We’re taking the next step in offering an unparalleled listening experience.”
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Virgin Media announced a few weeks ago that it will be partner with Universal music to deliver unlimited music track downloads for around £15 per month by the end of the year. Spotify has pre-empted the threat by announcing a new feature that will be noticed by purists. Granted that you will need a great internet access but still, Spotify's decision to double the bit-rate could accelerate the demise of physical media.
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