Friday, September 23, 2011

Spotify's Latest Statement On Sound Quality & Bitrate

The statement below was sent to me by the Spotify team yesterday. As for now I have not seen the statement published elsewhere. I am not in any way related to Spotify the company. For more information, please see this official page or contact people on this list.
All music streamed through Spotify is of high quality (no less than 96 kbps for mobile and 160 kbps for desktop). We have a catalog of more than 15 million tracks and more than 99.9% are available in high bitrate (320 kbps) for our Premium users. Our catalog adds an average of 10,000 new tracks daily and we add the newly added tracks as quickly as possible.


  1. They added the high bitrate version of all their tracks already? That is pretty shocking and it makes their infinitesimal conversion speed before you highlighted this problem even more puzzling.
    Nicely done mate.

  2. Excellent result. This is what we have been looking for. Well done Spotify for listening. Now there is no competitive disadvantage - and your loyal subscribers can enjoy the consistent high quality.

  3. Well done and thank you ulyssestone for your determination to get this problem sorted. I'm very grateful!

  4. Have you sampled this for yourself to see if it's true?

  5. I'm very disappointed in the Universal Music Catalog for classical on Spotify. Most of the albums have tracks missing. There is nothing worse than listening to a classical piece and having a track missing. Its also a problem with their ECM jazz catalog -- almost every album has a track missing.

  6. Premium U.S. customer and have found increasing degradation in sound on ios devices even while set for highest quality over wi-fi. Tunneling effect and muted vocals on both ipad2 and iPhone 3GS. Earbuds make it unbearable. Songs that won't play at all also. I will be moving on soon if not addressed.

  7. Hold on... the announcement does not say that 99.9% of the tracks are in high bitrate:

    checked on 29/11/11:


    What quality does Spotify stream in?
    We use the Ogg Vorbis format for streaming. There are three quality ratings that we use:

    q3 (~96 kbps)
    q5 (~160 kbps)
    q9 (~320 kbps)
    Note: not all tracks are currently available in high bitrate.


  8. As I said, the statement was sent to me by Spotify. It's not quoted from their site. That page hasn't been updated for years.

  9. I think these quality claims are untrue. I have come to believe the labels are providing poor quality audio to the streaming services in many cases. Spotify may be able to make this claim but in fact they could be streaming a 96 kbps WMA transcoded to 320 kbps Ogg Vorbis. It is not just Spotify, because I have noticed the same characteristic artifacts on Rdio.

    When listening to classical, the artifacts are abundant and obvious. Usually when listening to classical I end up hunting for the albums that don't have nasty artifacts, nevermind the performance.

    I am kind of puzzled that this hasn't been analyzed in depth - the artifacts seem so distinct and pervasive. Someone needs to get to the bottom of exactly what compressor yields the distinct artifacts we hear on the streaming services. Is it WMA? Is it AAC? Is it a lesser known codec? Maybe I will do this myself. I have already tried and failed to reproduce the artifacts with a wide range of Ogg Vorbis settings.

    I have been collecting bad artifact examples in a playlist and more specifics posted on my blog.

  10. Hi Ulysses, I've finally gotten to the bottom of this. It's the Universal Music Group (Decca and Deutsche Grammophon) audio watermark, which is particularly unforgiving to classical music. More info on my latest post.

  11. hey SPOTIFY creating a high bit rate play back file from a low quality low bit rate file is still a low bit rate bad sounding file
    most of what i here on SPOTIFY sounds like a bad 8 track from the 70's or worse no kidding oh but our mediocre society doesn't mind in this overly compressed world.

  12. SPOTIFY never says they have 160 kbps or 320 kbps. They alway say they have something EQUIVALENT to 160 or 320. And this is pretty misleading. My experience is that it is indeed equivalent, provided you listen to the music on your phone with low-quality earbuds. But with my Theorem 720 DAC / DT880, the quality is just abysmal and does not compare at all to my real 320 kbps AAC recordings (on the other side, Deezer 320 kbps - when available - is at least in the same league). Listen with your ears people! Don't be fooled by clever marketing lingo.

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