On March 30, Jay-Z invited the world’s most famous musicians to an event introducing his new company, Tidal. Their vague commercials showing Jay-Z, Kanye, and Madonna speaking on the diminishing connection between humans and art confused many and left them wondering, “What exactly is Tidal?”
Tidal acts as another online streaming service for music. The service includes songs, playlists, music videos, and more. Tidal seems exactly like Spotify with one difference: extreme prices.
While Spotify offers a free program, Tidal only allows members to pay $9.99 or $19.99 per month. Sure, Tidal offers a short free trial (30 days for Tidal Premium and 15 for Tidal HiFi), but signing up requires credit card information.
The different monthly prices offer different kinds of service. When members pay $9.99 per month for Tidal Premium, they receive “standard sound quality,” “high definition music videos,” and “expertly curated editorial.” However, when members pay $19.99 per month for Tidal HiFi, they receive “Lossless High Fidelity sound quality” along with the hi-def music videos and editorial.
Despite the $10 range in price and fancy description differences, some users say the subscriptions sound similar.
In a recent Complex article, writer Jason Duaine Hahn says, “I tried out Tidal’s premium subscription using my Sony MDR-7506 headphones, and I couldn’t notice a distinct difference, even when switching between Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight,” and Clipse’s “Grindin’,” on Spotify and Tidal…But hey, if you’re using high-end headphones like Master & Dynamics’ MH40 that are far out of my price range, you might be able to pick up the difference, especially if you’re a musician or an all-around audiophile. If you’re the type of person that sticks with the same headphones that came bundled with your smartphone…you’re better off sticking with the setup you got, even if it ain’t state-of-the-art.”
So why sign up for Tidal when Spotify offers a cheaper version of the same music?
Tidal offers an exclusivity available nowhere else in today’s music business. Tidal created a clique of some of the world’s prominent artists (Jay-Z, Kanye, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Rihanna, Beyonce, etc.) These artists now release their new music and videos through Tidal, attracting a vast amount of the world’s music fans. For example, Jack White streamed the final show of his tour on Tidal this past Sunday night.
Because of the conflicting pros and cons of music streaming services, “Tidal vs Spotify” seems to be a personal preference. For those willing to spend up to $240 a year, Tidal’s artist connections pay off when these members are the first to hear the hottest new singles. For those on the more frugal side, just wait a few days for YouTube and Tumblr to catch up.
Click here to read Jay-Z’s rant against the recent criticism on Tidal: https://storify.com/sofamck/tidal