We compare the features, cost and catalogue of the two streaming services to help you decide where to spend your subscription money.
Music streaming service TIDAL has had an interesting history, initially launching as WiMP back in 2010, before being controlled by rapper Jay-Z and rebranded as TIDAL. With it’s premium-only subscription, TIDAL has always boasted fairer revenue for artists than streaming services that also offer free tiers, such as Spotify. To this day, TIDAL is still partly owned by around 20 artists and bands, while in May this year, a majority stake was aquired by American financial services and digital payments company Square, Inc. Alongside the artist ownership and higher cut for artists, TIDAL launched as one of the first music streaming services to offer a lossless option. Subscribers can choose between TIDAL Premium or TIDAL HiFi.
In the US, for individuals, Spotify comes in two flavours: Spotify Free and Spotify Premium. Spotify Free is the audio company’s ad-supported music streaming model, while for a monthly subscription Spotify Premium gives listeners all the features they need.
For this comparison we’ll be looking at TIDAL Premium and Spotify Premium as these most closely represent the features users are after from a typical music streaming service today.
Both streaming services offer the same basic features such as ad-free listening, offline and on-demand playback, letting you listen to any song, anywhere, with unlimited skips.
For audio quality, both Spotify Premium and TIDAL Premium offer a maximum of 320 kbps. To access lossless audio and Dolby Atmos support, a TIDAL HiFi subscription is required. Spotify have announced a HiFi streaming tier, however we are still waiting for the feature to launch, and have no word yet on the maximum bitrate available or potential price increase above Premium memberships. With the competition for hi-fi music streaming from streaming services such as Amazon Music and Apple Music, it’s likely Spotify will drop any initial plans they had to include a price increase for the feature.
At the relaunch, Jay-Z brought his and multiple other artists’ music exclusively over to TIDAL such as new releases from Rihanna, Kanye West and Beyoncé. After a suspected lack in subscribers, Jay-Z and other artists eventually brought their catalogues over to other streaming services such as Spotify. Today, both Spotify and TIDAL claim over 70 million songs are available for streaming on their services.
For individual memberships in the US, Spotify Premium and TIDAL are both $9.99 per month. TIDAL HiFi is $19.99 per month, but TIDAL are seeing increasing pressure from services such as Apple Music and Amazon Music who include hi-fi streaming at no additional cost.
Both services offer various discounts for families, students and bundles with other subscription services.
For users uninterested in hi-fi streaming, Spotify Premium and TIDAL Premium offer largely the same experience. We hope Spotify will follow in Apple and Amazon’s steps introducing HiFi at no extra cost. If Spotify pull this off, they will leave TIDAL in the dust.
If you’re a music artist, you’re in luck. RouteNote can help you get your music onto either of these music streaming services and many more for free. Just sign up to RouteNote, upload your tracks, select the stores to distribute to and we’ll do the rest.