Spotify Vs Tidal ? Review and more

Friday, April 3, 2020

The music industry was completely overturned by the introduction of music streaming. It seems with every technological jump forward, there is a new way to listen to music that supersedes the previous form. At the moment, this next format can’t really be predicted, but there’s still plenty of competition around streaming services and finding the best option to suit your needs.

When once we would have bought and owned music, whether physically or digitally, now this is a lot less frequent. The most popular way that people listen to music is through monthly subscriptions, which gives us access to a cloud database of music.

Considering the bigger picture, music streaming is still pretty new to the industry. But for the small amount of time it’s been around, there is a lot of competition for platforms to choose from. Two of the biggest are Spotify and Tidal. The article below will compare the two.

Spotify is the most well established streaming service, it was founded back in 2006 meaning it’s been around for 14 years. Tidal on the other hand came to market much later, in 2014. Tidal has a slightly refined offering compared to other streaming services, in that it focuses heavily on delivering a higher quality sound.

Spotify vs Tidal: Cost

For those who have to be conscious of how much they are spending each month, signing up to a subscription is a commitment that has to be thought about carefully. Spotify provides a free subscription for people to use its service. This means that a person does have to listen to ads which interrupt between tracks and can be quite annoying, they also have a limited amount of tracks that can be skipped, which is 6 every hour on mobile. On the free plan, audio quality is also limited to 160 kbps.

For people who can afford £10 a month, Spotify’s premium plan removes ads, and skip limits. Users can listen to their library offline and the audio quality rises to 320kbps.

Tidal doesn’t have a free version, but it does offer a free trial for 30 days. For £10 a month, you can have access to the cheapest plan which plays music at 320kbps and can also be downloaded to listen to offline. But for those that want to pay £20 a month, you will have access to the Tidal library that has improved, lossless CD quality. Alongside this, there are 25000 hi-resolution tracks available to listen to.

Spotify vs Tidal: Music Library

Even though Spotify has been around for longer, you shouldn’t assume that it’s got a larger music library to select from. At the time of writing, Tidal has more than 60 million tracks in its system. Comparatively, Spotify has 50 million.

There is a slight amount of controversy around streaming services and their relationships with artists. This mainly results from royalty payments, particularly so with Spotify and it's free subscriptions. Tidal on the other hand approaches the topic more sympathetically, which is understandable considering Jay-Z owns it. Tidal claims that it pays musicians more royalties than any other competitor in the streaming market.

These issues can mean some artists aren’t available on all streaming sites, so it’s important to check that your favourite bands and musicians are available before signing up.

Spotify vs Tidal: Discovery

One of the amazing things about streaming services is the use of algorithms to recommend new music that you might like. This is an area that Spotify is particularly strong. It creates ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists that introduce users to new artists based on other songs that they like.

Tidal also offers music discovery services which are sophisticated, but not quite as much as Spotify’s. Playlists organised around mood and category are available, as well as a ‘What’s New’ section and a ‘Tidal Rising’ area that highlights new artists.

The music streaming industry is fiercely competitive, with different platforms offering a slightly different package that will each suit people with different needs. For those on a tight budget and want to discover new music, Spotify might be a better choice. For those who want the highest quality audio, Tidal should be the first platform to look at.