Spotify: How to watch its Stream On virtual news event Monday – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify laid out its vision for “a new golden age of audio” Monday, with a Stream On event revealing that the streaming-music giant will launch a new subscription tier called HiFi for high-quality audio later this year and is expanding to more than 80 new countries in the next few days. The company also unveiled a suite of new tools for artists and podcasters. 

Spotify‘s virtual event was the kind of extended presentation that other tech companies tend to trot out once (or more) a year. But Spotify, the biggest streaming service by both listeners and subscribers, hasn’t held one of these events since 2018 when it overhauled its free mobile tier. Those changes amped up what you could hear with a free account, unlocking on-demand songs that previously were available only to paying customers. Changes like those, and Spotify’s obession with expanding into podcasts of late, have vaulted the company to 345 million listeners and 155 million paying subscribers as of the end of last year. 

At Monday’s hour-plus event, Spotify said it would be launching a new high-quality-audio subscription in select markets later this year, called HiFi. Spotify didn’t specify how much it will cost or where it will first roll out, but HiFi is expected to cost about $20 a month to be priced competitively with rivals — and it’s probably a safe a good bet that the new tier will be available in the US, which is the world’s biggest music market, as well as Sweden, Spotify’s home base. 

Spotify is also embarking on its broadest expansion to new markets yet, which will take place this week. It will widen significantly to more than 80 new markets across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe over the next few days. And the company will also make Spotify available in 36 new languages, including Romanian, Hindi and Swahili, so it supports more than 60 languages total.

Spotify revealed new exclusive podcast programming, such as a podcast from President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen called Renegades: Born in the USA; Batman Unburied, part of a partnership with Warner Bros. and DC Comics; and Ava Duvernay’s first podcast project, which focuses on criminal justice. It also said it had scored a deal with AGBO, the entertainment company from powerhouse movie directors Anthony and Joe Russo. The Russo brothers, who have spearheaded Marvel film hits like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game, will create multiple podcast series for Spotify. 

The company also used the event to tout new and widening tools for creators, saying that its Spotify for Artists center has matured as the company’s hub for people who post music on Spotify and now houses a growing suite of tools and resources. It said it would be opening its Canvas looping visual to all artists, widening its Marquee marketing tool and launching Discovery Mode as a test later this year for more labels, which lets artists teams prioritize specific music that they want Spotify’s algorithms to favor.

A reply of Spotify’s Stream On event is available at Spotify.com/StreamOn and YouTube.com/Spotify

See also: Apple Music vs. Spotify: The best music streaming service for you


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