It is very easy to say that most music listeners use Spotify to enjoy their music. Of course, over the years there has been an uprising of these platforms with the introduction of Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer and more. However, there is one thing every single one of these streaming platforms have that Spotify doesn’t: high resolution music.
I have seen a lot of people justify their choice in using Spotify because of Spotify Wrapped, their recommendations and social features. As someone who uses Spotify, Apple Music and Qobuz: I have noticed that Spotify is most definitely the best service to enjoy with friends, but at what cost?
Last year, Apple Music introduced their high resolution plan for free with the addition of Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is a surround sound-based format that allows listeners to hear music from all directions no matter what headphones you are wearing. While not all songs are available in the surround sound format, most of the biggest songs in the last 80 years. The experience is unbeatable.
Spotify is the only platform to introduce a high resolution audio streaming opportunity. Apple Music, Qobuz, Deezer, Amazon Music and Tidal offer uncompressed music, meaning your music doesn’t lose any quality while you stream it. The version you hear is the exact same file that was created and exported in the studio.
Apple Music made it so that most songs on their platform are available in the resolution that was created in the studio for free. However, Spotify locked their music to the size of an MP3 file. It loses most of its quality as soon as you press the play button.
You could debate if you’re going to notice a difference between the high resolution or the Spotify compressed version, but why would you get a 1080p TV for the same price as a 4K one just because you wear glasses?
Does the social side of Spotify really matter when you are losing quality every time you share or enjoy a song? There are many platforms and sites that focus on recommendations based on your music habits that are not Spotify. Last.fm has been around for years and gives you detailed information and recommendations about your music taste on-demand. All you do is connect your streaming service.
Around two years ago, Spotify announced that they would implement a high resolution service in a new plan and that it would offer “CD quality” music. While this is high resolution, Apple Music and most other streaming services offer their music in quality as much as four times the amount of CD quality.
However, the best part is that Spotify has yet to talk about this new feature since. It has yet to be integrated. The idea that they’re going to charge more is incredibly unrealistic considering Apple Music gave the upgrade to all of their users for free. Spotify never mentioned a plan to implement the surround sound ‘Dolby Atmos’ feature to their music.
Spotify is known to have a poor history with their artists, like paying artists low amounts of money per stream. Taylor Swift removed her entire catalog in 2014 to protest Spotify and force them to raise their benefits for artists. Swift didn’t add music back to the service until 2017.
Meanwhile, Apple Music instantly heard Swift’s complaints and took action by offering better benefits for artists on the platform.
Recently, Spotify spent their time focusing on podcasts, audiobooks and other forms of audio. Their greed is starting to show more than ever. They seem to have forgotten that people mainly use their platform for music. Spotify’s lyric feature came years later and is poorly done. Their recent short video snippets that are played during music videos are a unique but poorly integrated concept.
Spotify also focused a lot on making exclusive merch for users who use Spotify. Except these “exclusive” items end up going on sale on the artist’s official store as soon as the Spotify exclusive period is over.
Other streaming services focus on keeping music as their main product by raising audio quality, offering unique ways to listen to music, offering artist interviews and even radio stations.
Apple Music may not have the best social features, but they exist. You can still find public playlists, share your music with friends and see who is listening to what album. While Spotify definitely has the benefit with social features, is it worth it if you’re completely missing the best part of music listening?
Social feature alternatives have been around before Spotify even added theirs. There are websites that make it easy to transfer all of your music information and songs. Maybe it is time to think about what makes Spotify “so great”, and maybe it’s time to try out a new service and see what you think. You may not notice the music’s improvement instantly, but you’d be surprised how different they sound.
Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or its staff. Gabriel Kanae is a student at the University of Nevada studying journalism. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.