Spotify's Sound Quality Sucks In Premium
I'm someone who adores music and the quality of that music is the most important thing to me. I do use music streaming services a lot & I always go for the premium plans to get the best quality available. With TIDAL & Amazon's lossless audio options being unavailable in India, the best options I've access to are Apple Music, Spotify & Amazon Prime Music. I've tried all of these services and I've to say, Spotify Premium is the worse of them all. But wait, isn't Spotify using 320 Kbps audio while Apple & Amazon use 256 Kbps? I wish the equation was that simple but, it really isn't.
What Went Wrong With Spotify Premium
To understand what's going on here, we need to look at the formats these streaming services are using. Apple Music & Amazon Prime Music both are using AAC at 256 Kbps while Spotify is using Ogg (Vorbis) at 320 Kbps. Both AAC & Ogg formats use lossy compression. But, from my practical experience, I can tell you that Ogg loses a huge chunk of the overall quality when compared to AAC. Amazon Prime Music & Apple Music both were more clear & they did retain more detail in the sound compared to Spotify when playing the exact same songs. I've tested with a wide variety of songs from multiple categories and the results were exactly the same. Ogg kinda sounds like a sightly amped-up version of MP3 but, it's still way worse than AAC, even at a higher bitrate.
This is not an issue for the casual music listeners, those who don't care much about detail & those who do not use high quality headphones. They'll be happy with the free plan of Spotify. But for people who need that superior quality, Spotify is failing to deliver. This is unfortunate 'cause, Spotify has the best ecosystem integration in the world. For that reason alone, people do want to use Spotify. But, that kind of difference in quality isn't really worth the trade-off for a huge number of audiophiles. Specially when Spotify costs ₹1189/year while Apple Music comes at ₹999/year and the entire Amazon Prime subscription costs ₹999/year coming with Prime Music, Prime Video, Prime Reading & Prime Delivery bundled.
How Can Spotify Improve This Situation
Spotify can change their entire library to 320 Kbps AAC which will push them ahead of the competition. But, doing that might be a little too much for the company. So, here's what they can do instead.
Change the price of the Premium Plan permanently to ₹699/year which currently becomes available during offer periods only. This lets them keep the current Ogg library.
Launch lossless FLAC audio support on their platform and keep that plan at the same $1189/year price.
If Spotify can do this, they will be able to solve two problems. The casual users will get a cheaper yearly premium plan and the audiophiles will get the no compromise lossless audio option which is way better than AAC. I'll switch to Spotify if they can pull this off and I'm sure Spotify has enough resources to make this happen. So Spotify, if you're reading this, do it!