Tidal Review

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Shahrzad Warkentin

By Shahrzad Warkentin Contributing Writer

Shahrzad Warkentin is a lifestyle writer specializing in entertainment and pop culture. She has spent the last ten years crafting content, reviews and news stories on film, television, music and books among other topics. After receiving her B.A. in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, she began her writing career in film and television. Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she loves hitting the beach with her family and catching up on Netflix.

Tidal Review

Although it doesn’t have the largest library out there, Tidal brings much more than just a listening experience to the table. It also provides a welcoming space where artists and audiences connect via interviews, high-definition videos, articles, artist-curated playlists, and event tickets. All of which make Tidal stand out from the crowd.

Like most music streaming services, Tidal’s interface is organized by themed playlists in various categories, and you can easily search for songs and albums and add them to your own playlists. Tidal also allows you to create Pandora-like radio stations around your favorite artists, allowing you to share your playlists, tracks, or albums easily via email or social media. The service is compatible with Android and iOS desktop browsers and mobile apps. It also functions with smart TVs, TV streaming platforms, smart speakers, and vehicles equipped with Apple CarPlay.

Tidal Packages Compared

Tidal Premium
Tidal Family Premium
Tidal Student Premium
Tidal HiFi
Tidal Family HiFi
Tidal Student HiFi
Price
$9.99/mo
$14.99/mo
$4.99/mo.
$19.99/mo.
$29.99/mo.
$9.99/mo
Free trial length
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
Offline listening
5 devices
5 devices
5 devices
5 devices
5 devices
5 devices
Unlimited song skipping available

How We Evaluated Tidal

With so many streaming services on the market, paring down your options to specific features is a helpful way to compare them. Finding a good deal is always beneficial, so we factored how Tidal’s cost stacks up against other major streaming services. Trying out a service without paying is also helpful when you’re shopping around, so we looked at free trials.

Besides the financial aspects, features are what really makes a streaming music service stand out. We considered Tidal’s sound quality for those interested in the best audio experience. We also compared how many songs it offers versus competitors. Lastly, we took into account some of the extras the platform includes, like video content for those who want more than a listening experience.

Tidal vs. Other Music Streaming Services

Tidal
Amazon Music Unlimited
YouTube Music
Pandora
Spotify
Premium starting monthly price
$9.99/mo
$9.99/mo
$9.99/mo
$9.99/mo
$9.99/mo
Free trial length
30 days
30 days
3 months
60 days
30 days
Highest sound quality
1411 kbps
3730 kbps*
256 kbps
192 kbps
320 kbps
Number of songs
60 million+
50 million
30 million
30 million
50 million+
Video content available
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
*For tracks offered in “Ultra HD”

Key Tidal Considerations

High-quality sound

For audiophiles who want to experience songs as they would sound in the mastering suite, Tidal’s album selections with Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) audio is an enticing feature. The library includes iconic albums, like the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” streaming at an average rate of 96 kHz/24 bit. However, it’s worth noting that other music services like Amazon Music are catching up and offering 24-bit streaming, as well. Tidal’s Premium plans are also competitive with other music streaming services with a minimum streaming rate of 320 kbps.

Exclusive content

Tidal’s biggest strength is all of its extras. In addition to a competitive 60 million-plus song library and 225,000 high-definition music videos, Tidal has exclusive content no other platform provides. Several new albums, like Jay-Z’s “4:44,” were released on Tidal prior to becoming available to the general public. The service includes feature-length articles and interviews with music embedded so you can learn more about the artists behind the content. Subscribers also get early access to concert and event tickets.

Higher prices

More benefits mean higher costs. Tidal has a lot of bells and whistles, but you’ll pay extra for them. Unlike other streaming services, there’s no Tidal value plan. The Tidal Premium plan is comparable in price with other services at $9.99 per month. However, its higher-tier offerings are significantly more expensive than competitors. Amazon Music HD, for example, is just $12.99 per month, while Tidal HiFi is $19.99 per month.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a streaming platform that gives you tons of extras besides a large streaming library, then Tidal is a great option. The platform provides a sleek interface, fantastic sound, outstanding video quality, exclusive content you won’t find elsewhere, and early access to special events. However, you might be happier with a different music streaming service that includes a value plan and fewer extras if you only want a bare-bones music platform at a lower cost.