Do you remember the days when you had to insert a CD into your chosen drive and listen to a single album? For a lot of people, that is a thing of the past. Streaming music is now the primary way for people to listen to their favorite tunes. Spotify is currently the streaming service you can listen to anywhere, with its solid catalog that caters to your audio needs. The service has managed to fend off competitors from Amazon, Apple and Google.
Another contender is Tidal, which received a big push in 2015 when it was acquired by hip-hop icon Jay-Z. It was started as a joke, but in recent months Tidal has carved out a niche for itself as a streaming service for music connoisseurs. If you are an audiophile, Tidal has become the rare and prestigious place to listen to Hello -Res Audio . Plus, its live broadcasts allow you to see artists in these difficult times andt socially distant.
Both services are great, so choosing between the two can be tricky. Luckily, we've tested competing music services to help you choose the one that's right for you.
The Spotify catalog caters to the general public and niche interests.
Money, Money, Money
Completely free level of service has played a major role in Spotify's path to dominance. This lowered the barrier to entry, allowing anyone to access the entire Spotify catalog. There are, however, downsides with the free tier. First, the service limits the number of songs you can skip per hour. Second, albums are limited to standard or shuffle play - you can't play songs on demand. Finally, free users find their listening sessions interrupted by cuts. Pay $ 9.99per month for Spotify Premium, and all of those restrictions go away. You also unlock the ability to cache songs on your device for offline listening.
Tidal only offers a 30-day free trial, not a free tier. After this trial period, you can subscribe to Tidal Premium for $ 9.99 per month. This gives you features similar to Spotify Premium: a library of over 70 million songs, unlimited skips, offline listening, and a host of live streams and exclusive events. The real money is found at the Tidal HiFi level. For $ 19.99 per month, you get Tidal Premium, along with lossless CD-quality HiFi and ultra-level, high-resolution Masters tracks.
High-resolution audio is intended to bring users closer to their favorite music as it was recorded in the original studio. Of course, to take full advantage of lossless HiFi and Masters, you need high-end audio equipment that can reproduce this sound. That said, some people are skeptical of the ability of Hi-Res Audio to truly reproduce the recording experience in the studio.
Aside from the standard subion options, Spotify and Tidal offer discounted alternative plans for families and students. Spotify offers Student, Duo (two people in the same household), and Family (six people in the same household) plans for $ 4.99, $ 12.99, and $ 14.99 per month, respectively. If everyone in your house is a Spotify fan, the Duo or Family plans are huge savings.
Tidal offers other subion options for families, students, and military / first responders, each with their own Premium and HiFi rates. With the Premium tier, a full family of six pays $ 14.99 per month, while HiFi for Mom, daddy and the rest costs $ 29.99 per month. Active students can get Tidal Premium and HiFi for $ 4.99 and $ 9.99 per month, respectively, while current military and first responders pay a little more at $ 5.99 and $ 11.99 per month. If you fall into any of these categories, it's worth getting these discounts for Billie Eilish's bumpin 'bass' Therefore I Am'.
If your digital wallet is low, Spotify is the way to go. If you have the cash to spare and want to listen to the Run the Jewels Cyberpunk 2077 title song "No Save Point" in full high resolution quality, Tidal is your only option. You have several pricing options on both services, allowing you to dial in exactly how much you're willing to pay for streaming music. It is however hard to beat "free". Spotify gives you this option.
Tidal's home screen is similar to Spotify's.
Magical Sound Shower
Spotify offers four levels of music quality: Low, Normal, High, and Premium - very high only. Low is 24 Kbps, Normal is 96 Kbps, High is 160 Kbps and Very High is 320 Kbps. This is good enough for the average listener, but in no way addresses lossless music.
Tidal starts at 320 Kbps for its standard streaming playback, delivering AAC quality at its lowest level. HiFi gives a lossless boost to 1411 Kbps, which is ideal for the budding audiophile. It also offers Master level, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) recordings from 2304 Kbps and above. The company claims that these tracks are typically 96kHz / 24-bit and authenticated by the artists themselves. It doesn't get much better than that, unless you're in the booth during check-in.
Tide Device support for 'if you cannot listen to your favorite tunes on the device of your choice. Spotify is available on almost everything under the sun. There are mobile apps for iOS and Android, desktop apps for Windows and Mac, and a web player on major browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Opera. This is just the start, as you can play Spotify on a plethora of different devices for consumer users including Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S , Xbox One, PlayStation 5 , PlayStation 4, Nest Hub, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos Play 1, Apple Watch, Fitbit Sense, Garmin Forerunner 645, Samsung QLED smart TVs, LG OLED smart TVs and more . The full list of Spotify compatible devices is available here , and it's truly mind-blowing. And that's before you get to Spotify Connect, which allows youand wirelessly stream your music to devices such as Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick .
With an emphasis on audio quality, Tidal is a bit more limited. There is little reason to block lossless HiFi audio through your Apple Watch. Despite this, Tidal has made great strides in app availability over the years. There are currently apps for iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Gear, Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Vizio. Tidal is also compatible with high-end audio devices from Sonos , Cambridge Audio , Onkyo, Harman Kardon , Electrocompaniet and Cabasse. If you've got the money for premium audio gear, Tidal is the music streaming service for you.
Spotify still offers music the most recent and the best.
Spotify has a catalog of 60 million songs from around the world, and Tidal topped that number with a full list of over 70 million songs. While there is a ton of overlap in terms of artists and albums available, both services offer their own flavor. Spotify offers a little more for niche tastes, with video game soundtracks or singles from smaller artists around the world. Tidal tends to focus on the bigger artists, to the point that it offers a number of early-stage big-name exclusives; Beyonce's Lemonade and Kanye West's Life of Pablo first launched on Tidal before expanding to other platforms.
Overall, the two libraries walk the same ground for many music listeners. Exclusives that once defined Tidal, like the Prince or The Beatles catalogs, made their way to Spotify in due course. And cExclusives tend to be exclusive for weeks, not years. The tide is advancing, but Spotify ends up catching up.
Winner: Tidal (slight lead)
Tidal has many non-musical extras.
Gimme Some More
Spotify isn't that strong on bonus content. Open the app on any platform and you'll find music recommendations, curated playlists, and current music ratings. The company has also spent a lot of money, up to $ 500 million, to bring more podcasts to the platform. That means you won't find just your favorites, but a host of Spotify-exclusive podcasts to listen to while shopping (or ignoring) your family on this vacation. The Joe Rogan Experience becomes a Spotify exclusive at the end of 2020, and the company has also acquired Gimlet Media, Parcast and The Ringer to beef up his podcast chops.
Tidal is, however, entirely devoted to music. You get the same curated playlists and recommendations, but there's a lot more for music lovers here. The service has created podcasts entirely focused on musical culture, such as Elliott Wilson's Rap Radar or Fat Joe's Coco Vision; they're not exclusive, but it does showcase Tidal's attention. In addition, you will find in-depth articles on musical artists, live concerts, music videos and other content. Take Alicia Keys' recent album, Alicia. You can listen to it on most services, but it's only on Tidal that you can browse the visual commentary track-by-track or kick off its episode Credit Due, a show that highlights the album's contributors. If you want to go all-in to your favorite artists, Tidal has the extra content that matters.
So which service is the best?
At the end of the day, the answer depends on how much you really care about the music. Back then, you could turn to VH1 or MTV to watch musical documentaries like Behind the Music or acoustic concerts on Unplugged. Today you can go to Netflix to watch Hip-Hop Evolution or Rapture as they dive into hip-hop history, or dive behind the scenes of K-pop with Blackpink. : Light Up the Sky. Tidal is the answer for those who listen to such shows, people who buy classic hip-hop and rock coffee table books. If you're bleeding music, Tidal is relatively the service for you, especially if you're spending $ 9.99 per month.
Spotify, however, is the Netflix of music streaming. It has something for everyone, with mainstream hits joined by world music artists and artists.anime soundtracks. Spotify fits the definition of "good enough" technology, and for most people who will do that job.
Most people don't have an amazing sound system or expensive headphones that will deliver crystal clear sound, especially in this economy. For many people, Spotify’s low-quality free audio is all they need, and they can play the service on almost anything. A guy installed it on his automated vacuum cleaner . Spotify goes where you go and won't break the bank, so it's the winner here.
Overall winner: Spotify
Top picks in streaming music service
Music Streaming Services Reviews