Streaming music has changed the industry, for better or worse. Personally, I love the fact that I listen to so much more variety than I used to. I no longer have to carefully consider which albums I’m going to try. I can just try all of them.
Of course, when most of us think of streaming music, our minds go to Spotify or Apple Music. While there have long been alternative options, including Deezer and SoundCloud, Spotify has had the best playlist options and Apple Music is just so seamless for iPhone users. For years, artist-owned Tidal barely came into consideration.
Tidal’s biggest pro is that it is the only service that offers completely lossless audio. In simple terms, the quality is far better. Does this make it worth it? Let’s take a look at whether you should consider giving your precious streaming money to Tidal.
Check this video comparison of Tidal vs Apple Music vs Spotify (Stream Quality Test, Features & Music Library):
Price: Tidal loses
Beginning where most people are likely to begin, let’s look at the price of Tidal. Compared to Apple Music, Tidal is not that much more expensive. In the US, they’re the same price, while in other countries, Tidal may be about double the price. But the real problem is that Tidal’s Premium service, which gives you the highest quality sound, is double the US price. You have to pay $20 a month for it.
Compared to Spotify, which offers a good service for free and a great service for the price of Tidal’s basic service, that is exorbitant.
Check out Tidal’s #TIDALforALL video clip:
Quality: Tidal drowns its competitors
The reason you might want to consider switching to Tidal regardless of price is that the quality of its music is just so good. At least that’s what they claim. Does it really make that much of a difference? Will anyone who’s not a complete audiophile be able to notice?
The answer is that it depends. If you are using cheap headphones (that cost less than $100 at least) you’re not going to notice much difference. Rather invest your money in a better set of headphones, and you’ll get way better quality out of one of the cheaper services.
Even if you are using the best headphones available, the difference in quality might not matter to you. It’s not going to add to your pleasure unless you’re the kind of person who listens carefully to every little thing going on in a song. For musicians, this matters a lot, even if it doesn’t technically make you enjoy the music more. Musicians want to be able to track everything going on in a song because it is of musical interest. You get a clear idea of the artist’s voice, and you get your own inspiration from listening to every instrument and every production decision.
When it comes down to it, what matters is what kind of listener you are. You're not going to notice much difference unless you’re looking carefully at the details. For musicians, this is important and necessary. For others, the extra $10 a month might just not be worth considering.