Streaming music services are used by over by millions of people each day from the party playlist to music that’ll keep you going through the afternoon slump at work. Sites like Spotify and Pandora have reigned supreme for a few years now but that all changed earlier this year with a newcomer on the scene heavily endorsed by music giants such as Jay-Z and Daft Punk.

Tidal appeared on the scene offering an alternative to the streaming services that we all know so I jumped on the bandwagon with a 30 day trial subscription that I initially didn’t use. Back around for the second time with a paid membership in hand, I put Spotify on the side for the time being and gave Tidal a run…so you wouldn’t have to.

Here’s what I found in the Tidal versus Spotify battle.

Streaming music has always been a controversial topic because of one thing: Money!

Artists have reported that even though some of their singles reach millions of listeners each day, they tend to get pennies on the dollar from some of the big streaming services. In early 2015, a newcomer to the subscription-based music streaming service named Tidal was acquired by Jay-Z and fully re-launched as a way for artists to become co-owners and stakeholders of their own music. Tidal was promoted as a service that was the first to be artist owned and was launched with early backers changing their avatars on social media to a light blue and a very “eerie” press conference with high profile artists in the background.

Tidal-Music-Press-Conference-co-owners

Of course, plenty of people were in an uproar about Tidal fees (comparable to Spotify model) and where the actual money was going. One thing to note, it’s interesting to see artists like Taylor Swift take complete control of how their music is distributed and not engage with the streaming services. Now that you have a bit of the backstory…here’s what I found.

Tidal vs Spotify

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User Interface

I used Tidal just like I use Spotify as my daily driver for music to get me through the day. Unlike Spotify, Tidal does not have a standalone desktop app so I found myself using the web player that looked similar to Spotify’s UI and was sometimes a bit buffer crazy when trying to listen continuously.

Exclusivity:

One of the features that this subscription service boast is that it is an artist own streaming service one of the first and exclusive content from co-owners and new releases from artists. While it was nice to catch Nicki Minaj’s latest video before it hit the interwebs, I QUICKLY realized that folks easily pulled that video and shared it far and wide.

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Price

Tidal offers two subscription plans:

  1. Tidal Premium – $9.99- free of ads- no streaming cap
  2. Tidal Hifi – All the features of Tidal Premium but an added feature of higher quality audio output

Edit: After logging into the platform in preparation for this review, I noticed they offered plans for student at 50% off. They use a verification service called SheerID to identify whether you are a student or not.

tidalsubscriptionstudent

Sound:

I was a subscriber of the Tidal Hifi subscription which boast high fidelity, lossless audio and the ability to stream music at a higher bit rate. I used three different set of headphones: one in the ear and two over the ear and did not notice a difference. Meh.

Final Thoughts:

After using Tidal for 30 days, I’ve come to the conclusion that the attachment that I have built with Spotify is just too beneficial to let go. Have you seen my playlists? It took YEARS to curate that! Although it was great for its exclusives and vibrant video content, I don’t think that’s enough to keep me going. One thing that is a factor to reconsider for just the month of July is that Miguel and Frank Ocean are both releasing albums and I’m not quite sure if they are members of the Tidal clique so there’s that to be said. I may reconsider if their albums are streamed exclusively there or released early on that platform.

Until then I’ll continue to jam to my Middle School Dayz playlist every throwback Thursday and share new music with my friends as I find it.

 

BUT WAIT…What about Apple Music?

It’s still too early to call Apple Music. My first impression is that…it’s a mash up of what we have with Spotify, Tidal, Pandora….even Songza with iTunes old school Ping.

Time will tell.