Tidal’s Prices Are Dropping (by a Lot)


Tidal built its empire on the fact that it offered higher quality, lossless audio at a time when Spotify and Apple Music didn’t. Now that Apple Music has introduced support for lossless audio, including hi-res lossless audio, Tidal is changing up its game and ditching its Premium offering (HiFi Plus) in favor of a singular plan that blends all of its offerings together.

This move will bring the cost of premium-quality audio on Tidal down to just $10.99 a month for individuals and $16.99 a month for family plans. That should put the service on equal footing with competing services that also offer lossless audio quality, like Apple Music ($10.99 a month), and it will make it slightly more expensive than the current lowest-tier individual plan that Tidal offers. The flipside is that you’ll get access to HiFi Plus music no matter what. This change will also do away with Tidal’s free listen option, which some users might find disappointing.

These price changes are a huge step forward for Tidal, especially if you’ve been eyeing the streaming service but haven’t wanted to pay $20 a month just to get higher-quality audio. Since Apple Music added options for lossless audio, it’s become a substantial competitor to Tidal in the quality range. That said, both platforms have their pros and cons.

Comparing Apple Music and Tidal after the price drop

For starters, both Tidal and Apple Music have extensive catalogs of music, with over 100 million songs available on each platform. And the non-audiophiles probably aren’t going to see much difference between Tidal and Apple Music’s hi-res lossless options (both still require external amps to fully take advantage of the increased quality).

What you will notice when looking between Tidal and Apple Music, though, is that both apps approach listening to music quite differently. Sure, they both have lyric systems, which allow you to keep up with the words in a song really easily. There is some discourse about which is better, though both seem to do the job well enough. It is worth noting that Tidal lyrics tend to sync up better than Apple Music, and they display in real-time while listening to the song.

Where the big differences appear, though, is in how you find new music on both platforms. Sure, you could just listen to the same songs that you love over and over again, but streaming services like Tidal and Apple Music put a lot of weight into expanding your song library.

Apple Music relies heavily on algorithms like those seen on Spotify, which create playlists of similar songs that you might like, while Tidal looks at your favorite tracks and listening data and then lets you generate customized mixes based on that information. It’s similar, but Tidal definitely puts a lot more emphasis on how the user edits those playlists than Apple Music tends to. This makes it a bit more involved to find new music on Tidal compared to Apple Music, so users that aren’t as well versed in audio and navigating discographies will probably find Apple Music’s generated playlists a bit easier to work around.

Audio options are also a big deal. And while Apple Music offers a basic equalizer, Tidal digs a little deeper, with more granular control of the audio experience, including individual audio balance controls and surround sound effects.

There’s also the matter of “lossless audio,” which both streaming services claim to offer. Despite the lossless branding on Apple, though, it still compresses the audio to 256 kbps AAC. As such, Tidal delivers more detail and nuance than Apple Music does. Audiophiles who have been wanting to take that extra plunge will be happy to hear about Tidal’s price change, as it makes getting access to truly lossless music even easier than before. The price change goes into effect on April 10, so you’ll have to wait to take full advantage of the change.

Source

Leave a Comment