What’s the Difference Between TIDAL and Spotify?

ADVERTISEMENT:

Have you been hearing about Tidal and wondering what it is and whether you should swap from Spotify? Have you been drawn in by the Lossless sound that they’re promising or have you been wondering what in the word they’re going on about? Well look no further as we round up the need-to-know info from experts and users to provide you with the tools to decide if TIDAL is right for you.

Source: tidal

Source: tidal

What is TIDAL?

TIDAL is a music streaming service that you can download for free as an App. According to GottaBeMobile, Tidal has been around a while but in April 2016 it had a massive relaunch. There were promises of exclusive released and HD videos with a subscription service option, TIDAL HI-Fi providing Lossless High Fidelity sound for $19.99 per month which is quite expensive compared to Spotify.

There are other subscription offers ranging from $4.99 for students and half price offers for second users in the family plan but the main option is a Premium service which costs the same as Spotify ($9.99) which includes the following: (but no Lossless)

Source: pixabay

Source: pixabay

  • More than 40 million music tracks
  • Lossless sound quality (FLAC/ALAC 44.1kHz / 16 bit – 1411 kbps)
  • More than 75,000 music videos
  • Curated Editorial provided by experienced music journalists and industry experts
  • Dedicated apps available for iOS and Android phones and tablets
  • Web player for PC/MAC
  • Exclusive content including ‘rough tracks,’ studio sessions and merchandise shop

 

Is it better than Spotify?

Source: spotify

Source: spotify

General Lo-Down:

GottaBeMobile says that you’ll be better off with Spotify which offers you a range of sound qualities in the free version and when you pay the $9.99 monthly fee, you get access to “Extreme Quality” music which allows you to stream music at 320kbps.

The Breakdown:

40 million tracks – yes, that’s actually better than Spotify who offer 30 million tracks. However, it depends who’s missing in that 10 million as to whether you’d notice.

Lossless sound – Well, if you subscribe to the Premium service you don’t get Lossless sound and it’s actually not as good as Spotify  and the sound quality will be exactly the same because you have to take $19.99 per month option to get the Lossless sound.

Curated Editorial – The curated editorial service is being plugged as pretty unique, but the truth is ITunes and Spotify offer these services as well. Both Consequence of Sound and GottaBeMobile have warned that TIDAL has placed an overemphasis on celebrity endorsement for a product that actually would be more superior if it were endorsed by music savvy regular users like on Spotify.

Dedicated Apps and Web Player – Yes there are apps, yes there are web players. BUT: If you have a Windows phone and love it, TIDAL is not for you as it doesn’t offer an App for Windows. It’s also not available on Playstation yet but there are developments in both Windows and Playstation to make this happen in the future. If you’re looking at the right now though, TIDAL loses.

Exclusives – TIDAL features special HD music videos which is exclusive to them as a music app but not exclusive to apps and websites overall. GottaBeMobile reminds us to go old school and kick back with one of the best and most comprehensive free media sites of all time: YouTube! You can find more on YouTube than anywhere else from high-grossing acts to little known indie bands and acoustic singer/songwriters.

TIDAL Hi-Fi

With the high-end rate of $19.99, you get to stream sound quality at 320kbps, same as Spotify but you also get Lossless. But is it better than the Extreme Quality offered by Spotify? We decided to find out what actual users had to say by following a thread on Quora on the very same subject!

YES – TIDAL HI-FI is Better! BUT…

Source: flikr

Source: flikr

User: Daniel

Should we trust his ears? He’s a self-professed guitar hero and a design professor so maybe!

His Verdict?

TIDAL Hi-Fi is superior but can also depend on three other things too. First, you need decent headphones, like Sennheiser Momentum 2 that don’t cost the earth but improve the audio quality. Second, the music might not be recorded to sound better on Hi-Fi – modern music is heavily compressed specifically for cheap headphones plus the genre you like might make or break the difference. If you’re into techno for example, you’re unlikely to notice a difference. Third, your ears might not be used to that kind of sound, which is controversial but still something to take into account especially if you’re considering parting with the best part of twenty bucks a month.

NO – TIDAL Makes no Difference!

Source: flikr

Source: flikr

User: Benjamin

Should we trust his ears? He’s a data scientist so maybe not for his job but he is well into music and has a whole group of sound engineer mates, so yeah, maybe!

His Verdict?

TIDAL Hi-Fi is not worth it for most people, even if you’re using decent noise-cancelling headphones. This is especially so if you’re listening to certain genres like rap. Lossless is only detectably different on a home system with uncompressed music. In fact, his sound engineer buds hate listening to music that is compressed on a high-end sound quality because it’s distorted in many ways. Their advice to him was that the most important thing is not Lossless sound but quality mastering. If the master is really good on ITunes the sound will be better, period.

Fivebreak Verdict?

We think if you’re going to part with double the cash every month, it’s got to be 100% worth it and it doesn’t seem like it is. For us, we’re going to stick to our ITunes and Spotify accounts. In our opinion, we’d rather buy $20 of music every month that we can own forever but one really important thing we have learnt is that we’re going to pay attention to the quality of the master and invest in a decent pair of headphones. It seems that the number one thing you should do to get better audio quality this year is bin those IPhone earlette style headphones.

 

ADVERTISEMENT: