[Music] Use Opus Codec instead of OGG Vorbis

Many users are currently complaining about the sound quality of Spotify. A new open-source codec called Opus is available and it may improve the sound quality on the same bitrate to improve extreme quality for premium users. Also, when Spotify will already use the codec, they can reduce the bitrate of the normal quality without reducing the sound quality. It is great for reducing bandwidth use and making songs faster to load. It will also make the users who use old versions be discouraged to use the old app. A comparison of Opus to other codecs is in this link https://www.opus-codec.org/comparison/ . Examples are here http://opus-codec.org/examples/ .

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Updated: 2016-01-27

Hey folks, currently we have no plans to switch to Opus. This idea will remain open for kudos even with the 'Not Right Now' status and we'll continue to bring your feedback to the teams here at Spotify, thanks!



Comments
user-removed
Not applicable

@battant22 you don't need to change anything, vorbis is the only format that Spotify uses.

okcomputer101
Newbie

@battant22Spotify uses ogg as it's default codec

EduXicao
Newbie

Sometimes, I can't hear it even a little bit louder without stress my hears. High frequencies on Ogg Vorbis are very harsh and there is no way to correct it in equalizer, because the codec introduces too HF noise in all HF spectrum. YouTube audio quality is greater than ever, even in lower bitrates like 120~ kbps for web interface. Spotify free uses 160kbps as you know, and the sound does not get better than OPUS codec at higher bitrates in premium subscription. Spotify needs to change. 

Gilgamesh83
Newbie

Not using the Opus codec is a step in the wrong direction, even google and youtube has adopted its use.

dedoyxp
Newbie

I'm new to spotify, I'm a ilegal music listener before, but now seems interested in legal music with convenience like this.

Surprised why still uses vorbis/ogg, at first I assume spotify use AAC or Opus. Even after knowing spotify use ogg I'd still hoping that they considering Opus. But when I seen this ideas is 'rejected' now I'm re-considering between Spotify and Apple Music since QAAC by Apple seems like still improving...

nielsbuus
Regular

I can't speak on behalf of Spotify, but as a software engineer I can understand why Spotify is reluctant to implement this seemingly obvious improvement.

 

Problem 1: Storage capacity

I can't find the exact number of songs on Spotify, but various sources are reporting 30+ million songs, so let's assume Spotify has exactly 30.000.000 songs. Let's assume the average track length is 4 minutes. That's 240 seconds. This means that Spotify offers 30.000.000 * 240 seconds of audio. That's 7.200.000.000 seconds.

 

If you were to encode all of these to Opus at 96, 160 and 320 kbps, that means a total bitrate per second is 576 kbps (96 + 160 + 320). That's 72 kilobytes per second.

 

In conclusion, the projected space requirement for offering the entire Spotify library in Opus, would be 518.400.000.000. That's 483 terabytes of music. This may not sound like a lot - just about 125 of todays 4 terabyte consumer harddrives, but when you factor in that Spotify needs to use higher quality hardware for reliable operations and you factor in redundancy requirements as well as geographically distributed caching layers for fast loading worldwide by millions of users, the storage capacity probably increases significantly.

 

So ... it's not impossible, but it certainly isn't a cost-free improvement either.

 

Problem 2: Software infrastructure

This is probably the main deal breaker. On top of storage requirements, Spotify would also have to rewire it's catalog management software, so it automatically creates Opus versions of it's content and makes it available to the clients. I would assume Spotify already has the structure in place to support multiple formats, but they would still need to implement an Opus encoder and encode their existing library to Opus.

 

Spofify offers clients for mac OS, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. And while these can be updated to support Opus, it may very well take thousands of software developer hours to plan, implement and test. In addition to these main clients, Spotify also offers a huuuuge number of clients for smart tv platforms, networked music players, etc... In total, there may very well be hundreds of Spotify clients out there, that would need to be updated to support Opus across the board. Some of these platforms may be technically incapable of supporting Opus, so in the short term, adding Opus will not allow Spotify to ditch an existing format.

 

Finally, I think that the vast majority of Spotify's users does not know what bitrate or codec means. Among the small group that does have notion of it, only a tiny fraction has complaints about the Spotify sound quality and would understand and appreciate the improvement gained from switching to Opus.

 

A handful of Opus enthusiasts is simply not enough to justify the development costs of upgrading to Opus.

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

MrNilson
Newbie

As far as I know Spotifiy has the data lossless stored (other streaming services have lossless too). I guess there is no storage problem.

It is about the streaming (where they have to encode in certain codec). Wide device compatibility ist what they want, and maybe that is why opus is still "too new". What will be the next step? Deezer already uses lossless streaming (flac). Maybe they skip opus and turn to lossless...

 

I really would like to have it optional if that is possible. I would use streaming service with opus codec. For example Ogg vorbis by default and 3 quality ratings optional for opus as an advanced user setting.

off-white
Gig Goer

 Great idea!

utack2
Gig Goer

Opus 1.2 is released, quality got even better.
Pretty hard to deny that the low bitrate tier should move to something 80kbit/s opus now and the higher tiers get better quality at same bitrate, no?

Sami-Perkele
Newbie

Spotify could save money using Opus. Same quality Opus file has a lower bitrate than Vorbis.