So, there are 2 school of thoughts here. The layoffs happened because Spotify is getting ready to launch HiFi and that is going to cost them - hence reduce people and save costs. The other thought is they laid off to save cost and will not launch HiFi. No one other than Spotify knows which one is the correct one.
So, assuming it does eventually roll out and the quality is up to Qobuz standards — a big if I’d submit — at $20/month it’s at an 85% premium to my annual Qobuz subscription. All else being equal I’d be willing to pay a little more for better playlist creation and music search/discovery capabilities (Qobuz search function sucks IME), but not 85% more. We’ll see how it shakes out I guess.
it's uncanny how many times spotify's algorithim has drudged up and recommended to me some fantastically obscure record i might have heard once and liked 50 years ago. its playlist and radio station functions are also extremely prescient. amazon and tidal, by comparison, are pretty rudimentary in these regards, although amazon's catalog (at least in the genres i listen to) now seems to be virtually on a par with spotify's. i just wish spotify was more forthright about this hirez thing.
I’ve been with Spotify since the beginning but only used it for auditioning music before buying the physical copy. I was sent a message a couple of months ago about my subscription not being able to paid through Apple anymore so I did nothing about it.
Honestly since subscribing to Qobuz I haven’t missed it. The interface was cool but I never took advantage of any of the recommendations or automated playlists anyway. As for the Hifi higher res thing- they’ve cried wolf one too many times on that.
I still find Spotify to have it's place even without hi-res content, I love it in all environments outside of my two channel setup. Gym, work, car, casual listening, I use it for that almost exclusively. It still doesn't sound bad on my home setup, but clearly a step below alternatives.
If this does transpire, I hope it motivates Qobuz to finally get their act together on the connect capability.
The competition from Apple Music and Amazon messed them up. But like @loomisjohnson mentioned - none of the other providers can match their interface OR Connect. IF AM and Amazon were purely streaming based, then they could not afford what Spotify is doing. Moving to FLAC means a lot more server space and royalties. I really don't mind paying $19 for Spotify HiFi. At least the quality would be better and more royalties to the artists (that's the hope). Some music that I absolutely love - I end up buying on CD/downloads.