Tidal Brings Hi-Fi Streaming to the US and UK…

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Tidal has officially launched in the US and the UK. The service is built by Norway’s WiMP, who rebranded for these new markets (good move).

Tidal has launched with over 25 million lossless tracks (FLAC/ALAC 44.1kHz / 16 bit – 1411 kbps), 75,000 music videos, and curated editorial. It’s available on iOS, Android, and the web.The service has licensing agreements with the major labels, “many” indie labels, PRS for Music, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Harry Fox Agency.

Tidal has also signed agreements with a number of audio brands.  This is key, since listening to TIDAL through your iPhone headphones negates the benefits of the service.  Tidal has agreements with Astell & Kern, Denon HEOS, JH Audio, McIntosh, Sonos, and many others.

The price is considerably higher than non-lossless streaming services, which all cost around $9.99/£9.99.  Tidal costs $19.99/£19.99 per month.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

10 Responses

  1. Anon

    Sounds like a scheme to get bought out by one of the big guys. having HD audio could be a nice premium offering for a spotify or apple service. otherwise, most people aren’t even willing to pay $10/ month, let alone $20.

    • Versus

      Most people would be willing to pay if they could not get the music for free / stolen anymore.

  2. john

    enjoying my 30 day free trial, after that we’ll see.

    so far my thoughts:

    tracks load/buffer way more slowly than spotify, which i guess should be expected but i have verizon fios which is just about the best internet in the US.

    kind of ugly/ubuntu UI.

    editorial stuff is basically just a ripoff of spotify playlists.

    Strength of catalogue: comparable to spotify/rdio etc.

    The main selling point tho is the sound quality, listening to Bonobo and Radiohead and hearing stuff I haven’t heard in the years that i chose to compromise and go from having my favorite music in Apple Lossless to having a world of music available in lower quality via spotify. The quality is damn awesome.

    I’m pretty sure another bigger player will offer this same quality at some point. This shit sounds worlds better than spotify just using some crappy headphones and my normal macbook headphone out. look forward to using it with an apogee duet soon.


  3. Versus

    Great to hear about a move to hi-fi streaming.

    Some technical concerns, however:
    What happens with the inevitable Internet connectivity speed fluctuations?
    Temporary reduction to lo-fi quality?
    Or is the buffering so strong that this rarely/never happens?

  4. john

    it buffers occasionally, long gap between tracks. it switches away from hifi when there are bandwidth issues.

    • Name2

      But unlike Spotify, which is reluctant to tell you when the stream is dropping in quality, Tidal’s Chrome-based desktop app has a giant honking HIFI indicator which goes dark when you’re in danger of stuttering.

  5. Name2

    Wish I had a 30-day trial. I only have a 7-day, and I’m on my first day of it.

    So far, love it: their android client is heads and shoulders above Spotify’s. Very straightforward: You click a downloaded album, it plays. You click a downloaded playlist, it plays. One-button queue-clearing. Awesome software experience. FLACs can be offlined to your Android device while on Wi-Fi, but cannot be offlined to your Windows desktop running Chrome. But I’m experiencing practically very little between-song lags streaming over Verizon DSL 7.1 at home, and no actual interruptions in the music.

    For $20, you get to register three portable devices for offline download/play. To get the same number of offline portable devices from Rhapsody, you pay $15 a month. Since Rhapsody got out of the download-selling game, and the days of its version 4 desktop client seem numbered, and my dedicated Rhapsody hardware is all dead, it is quickly losing a lot of its appeal. I may be dropping it soon (after a very fun four-year friendship) in favor of $20 for Tidal.

  6. Artie

    it appears that ECM albums are not available on Tidal. Major bummer for me.

  7. Steve

    Not having ECM to stream from Tidal is like having thousands of British rock LPs of the 1960’s without a single Beatles album. It’s very frustrating to say the least. Tidal’s sound quality will never make me even give Spotify a side glance.