If you're enjoying Spotify as much as we do, you'll be interested to hear that its paid-for Premium service is to offer streamed music at double the quality.
According to an official forum post today, the bit rate of Premium music will increase this week from 160kbps to 320kbps, using the Ogg Vorbis q9 codec, beginning with the most popular tracks. It's nowhere near CD quality, despite some reports -- CDs boast 1,411Kbps -- but is still, according to our tame audiophile Nate Lanxon, "really excellent".
Despite only launching in December 2008, being invite-free for about four months and (technically) not available at all in the US, Spotify has over three million users. The music industry is clearly sitting up and taking notice.
Artists and labels seem to be unusually farsighted in embracing the potential of the service. This month Spotify Premium has offered access to pre-release material from (Spotify links) Sonic Youth, Manic Street Preachers, Jack Peñate, Placebo, Jenny Lewis and Kasabian. In this time it's added over 100,000 tracks, including the back catalogue of SoCal punk mainstay Epitaph and the debut album by hotly tipped electropixie Little Boots. It's even given away concert tickets.
What's more, the BBC reports that the Official UK Charts Company is considering adding streamed songs to the top 40, with slightly different weighting to actual paid-for tracks. We're not sure about that: after all, this isn't the shonky radio-airplay charts, this is the sacrosanct people-are-actually-paying-actual-money-for-these-songs, Sunday-afternoon-on-the-BBC chart. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Spotify Premium costs £10 per month or £100 for a year. If you're already a subscriber, all you have to do to get higher bit-rate music is tick the box in the preferences menu. Right, we're off to add Pendulum's face-melting take on Master of Puppets to the official CNET UK community playlist.