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TIDAL is a streaming music service focused on artists' intellectual property and dedicated to establishing a better connection between artists and their audiences. It belongs to American rapper Jay-Z and is owned by many other major music stars, such as Beyoncé, Madonna, Coldplay, and Usher. It is also characterized by offering a high-quality sound experience. TIDAL also has a catalog with millions of songs and thousands of music videos.
What are the key features of TIDAL?
- Quantity and quality: TIDAL has a gigantic library of more than 70 million songs and 250,000 music videos in good quality. Its playlists have been designed not by algorithms, but by humans, including artists, journalists, and music industry experts. The platform also claims to have the largest catalog of songs in the master version, i.e. as originally conceived by the artist. This has been achieved through the use of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), an audio technology that allows the original master recording to be streamed from anywhere.
- Premium sound: Above all, TIDAL is committed to premium, high-fidelity sound. It offers HiFi sound, based on the FLAC streaming format that allows you to enjoy uncompressed and lossless music. It has a Dolby Atmos Music option, immersive audio experience, which adds dimensionality to music the 360 Reality Audio, Sony's spatial audio technology, in which individual sounds from instruments or a live audience can be placed in a 360-degree sound field. The result is that the listeners feel like they are in the same room as the artist playing.
- Access to content and exclusive experiences: Through its TIDALX program, the platform seeks to promote a closer and more direct relationship between musicians and their audiences. For starters, it gives them access to exclusive digital content, including videos and podcasts with the artists. TIDAL also organizes meet-and-greets, concerts, and many other events between musicians and fans to give them opportunities to interact.
- Artist support: In addition, the events organized by TIDAL also help emerging talent reach a wider audience. To boost younger artists, TIDAL strives to promote them on and off the platform. It also claims to pay musicians the highest royalty-to-revenue ratio of all streaming music services and claims to offer the same rates to all artists, whether independent or mainstream.
Is TIDAL free?
TIDAL does not have a free version, although it offers a 30-day trial period if you want to try the premium versions (you can cancel your subscription at any time).
As for its payment plans, it has two options:
- Premium: offers unlimited ad-free music on multiple devices, music download for offline listening, and access to exclusive TIDAL X events. For $9.99 per month.
- HiFi: offers listeners the same content and experiences as the Premium subscription, in FLAC (HiFi quality), CD and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) format (1411 kbps vs. 320 kbps for standard streaming). For $19.99 per month.
- Discounts: TIDAL has 50% discount programs for college and high school students, as well as families of up to 5 members.
TIDAL or Spotify, which one is better?
TIDAL and Spotify are two platforms with very similar interfaces, sections, and prices (in the case of their premium versions), although they also present important differences.
TIDAL is committed to a close relationship between artists and fans and wants to promote greater respect for music creators, something that is reflected in the support garnered among major stars of the U.S. industry. Likewise, its catalog is twice as large as Spotify's in terms of the number of songs. And let's not forget that it offers HiFi and master music, options not available on the world's most popular service, although other streaming platforms do.
As for the advantages of Spotify over TIDAL, it is clear that it has a free version, as well as a very wide selection of podcasts of all kinds, a rather poor section in the service owned by Jay-Z.
In conclusion, both platforms have advantages and disadvantages, although if you can afford it and if the sound quality (and artist support) is important to you, you might consider switching to TIDAL. In that case, you should know that the service offers you the possibility to import your playlists from other streaming music platforms.