There are many options when it comes to streaming music services, and Spotify is the undoubted leader. But there's also Tidal which aims to stand out from the crowd by offering higher levels of audio quality. Additionally, and unlike Spotify, Tidal also gives you access to a library of music videos. Unlike Spotify, there is no free, ad-support tier, just a choice of paid-for subscriptions.
Tidal says that it has a library of more than 60 million tracks for you to choose from (roughly comparable with Spotify), in addition to over 250,000 videos, so you should find it easy to track down something you want to listen to or watch. You can choose between a Premium or a HiFi subscription, with the latter offering lossless CD and masters quality audio, albeit to a small subset of the overall number of songs available.
A Premium subscription will cost you $9.99 per month, while HiFi is $19.99. There are also family plans available which lets you add up to five additional people to your account (so six people in total); Family Premium costs $14.99, and Family HiFi is $29.99 per month. The basic package is priced at a similar level to Spotify and you will have to decide if the boost in audio quality justifies the extra cost of the HiFi subscription. Although there are no free account options available, Tidal frequently has special offers that will you try out the service for varying periods of time – anything from one to six months – at a massively reduced rate.
In many regards if you have used any streaming tool before, you'll have a very good idea of how Tidal works. You can search for the bands and artists you want to listen to, get suggestions, learn about the latest releases and so on. As you would expect, Tidal is available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, and there's also a web-based client to open it up to Linux users too.
You can create playlists as well as listening to curated and suggested content, and offline listening is available for when you don’t have an internet connection available or want to reduce data usage.
In addition to music and videos, Tidal offers unique content such as podcasts and interviews with artists. And this is something of a selling point for Tidal – there is quite a level of artist involvement with the service, and this helps to create a sense of community that centres around music. The service also prides itself on the fact that rather than just offering up algorithmically chosen playlists and suggestions, there are also a wide range of hand curated playlists for you to enjoy.
If audio quality is what matters to you most, Tidal has more to offer than many of its rivals – although it does come at a bit of a price. It's a premium service, but you really do get what you pay for.