The news has come out very recently: in addition to its current plans, Spotify is going to offer everyone a new subscription for audiophiles with the best quality from your catalog in streaming. Quality lossless for those who don’t want to hear about compression algorithms.
Spotify will thus join Tidal, a pioneer service and target of purchase rumors that has been offering this quality for a long time for 19.99 euros per month, and causes many to turn their eyes to Apple and ask the question. Will something like this make it to Apple Music?
Balancing between a price and a very specific audience
As you may remember, Apple Music plans are around 9.99 euros per month for individual accounts (4.99 euros for students for a certain time) or 14.99 euros for family plans. The competition has very similar plans (Spotify’s family plan costs one euro more), so it is not difficult to think of an ‘Apple Music Hi-Fi’ or an ‘Apple Music +’ with uncompressed audio by 19.99 euros per month individually.
No one has thought of family plans for these types of subscriptions, so we are entering uncharted territory in terms of what such a subscription could cost. The target audience of these subscriptions also comes into play here: they are not aimed at entire families but rather for very demanding users or the most professional ones. We are talking about a very niche service.
In addition, it would be a level of audio quality that it would not be properly enjoyed without quality equipment. Perhaps Apple could only offer it with the purchase of AirPods Max or a set of two HomePods that make up a stereo speaker system. Who knows: there could be a gap for promotions like “buy two HomePods and get six months of Apple Music Hi-Fi at one reduced price“. Probably almost all of us would be unable to distinguish the difference in qualities with conventional AirPods.
Another way for a high-fidelity music service from Apple to fit into their offerings would be incorporate it into Apple One Premier, the company’s maximum joint underwriting category. Perhaps it would take another modality or another price, but it would also be a way of offering the best professional services to everyone.
Apple would not seek to multiply income with an ‘Apple Music Hi-Fi’, but it would satisfy the most demanding users and fulfill its eternal promise of quality
But it would be, I insist, something reserved only for those who know how to differentiate the quality of uncompressed audio and who do so with the best audio accessories. I would not be surprised if Apple indicated a fairly short list of third-party accessories with which to appreciate the improvement, and that counting that the capacity is not reserved for its own accessories and thus have another argument to push the sales of its own accessories.
In short, there is room for an ‘Apple Music Hi-Fi’. But apple I wouldn’t look for big increases in income with this modality: it would simply cover a demand of the section of the most demanding users when listening to music. Those who are willing to pay double for a subscription and spend their money on audio accessories capable of making us notice the improvement. In Cupertino they always boast of the best quality in their content, so it makes sense.
Now this is just a reflection. There are no rumors that such a service is close. Tim Cook may prefer to see how Spotify fares with this new subscription and act accordingly in 2022 or later if applicable.
Image | Ivan Bandura and Unsplash