Of course, everybody knows Spotify. It is believed by many as the most popular, if not the best, music streaming service on the market today. We can’t deny the fact that Spotify offers excellent user experience with a very rich music collection and features. However, there is a serious competitor that has been gaining lots of attention in the last few months, which is Tidal. Surprisingly, Tidal is not a newcomer. The service has flown under the radar for some time and has just recently surfaced with cool exclusives from big names such as Beyonce, Kanye West, and Jay-Z. And there is this cool feature: Hi-Fi lossless streaming. So, which one is actually better between Tidal vs Spotify?
Of all the things that can be compared between Tidal vs Spotify, the sound quality is the first one that people usually mention. This is because Tidal has been using its streaming quality as a major selling point. Guess what, Tidal has a high-end subscription option called Tidal Hi-Fi that will allow you to stream the music at the Hi-Fi lossless quality. That’s certainly an impressive capability.
Nevertheless, the Hi-Fi setting is not available for all users. You have to subscribe to the high-end subscription plan if you want to enjoy the uncompressed performance. Tidal has a “normal” setting, which streams at 96 kbps, as well as a “high-quality” setting which streams at 320 kbps.
On the other hand, Spotify provides several streaming quality options for its users so that the users can adapt according to their specific conditions and preferences (take a look at our previous post: Amazon Prime Music vs Spotify). If you are running on the mobile data, using the “normal” streaming setting at 96 kbps is probably the best way to enjoy some music. The users can also choose the “high” setting to stream at 160 kbps or the “automatic” setting to let the app decides by itself. The Spotify Premium subscription unlocks the “extreme” streaming quality, which brings you to stream at 320 kbps. Spotify has tested a lossless streaming setting, but the lossless setting has not been implemented.
Is Tidal’s lossless setting so much better than Spotify’s extreme setting? For the audiophiles, yes.Tidal’s lossless setting will bring much more details into your hearing. The difference is quite noticeable. It offers much more clarity and definition. However, if you are not a serious audiophile, you probably will not notice a real difference. If this is the case, Spotify’s extreme setting is already great.
The next thing that people usually question when comparing music streaming services is the number of music tracks in the collection. So far, most streaming services do not really tell how many songs that they have collected. Tidal is said to have more than 48.5 million music tracks in its collection. On the other hand, Spotify is simply said to have more than 30 million music tracks a few years ago, but the number has certainly increased as new releases have been added into the collection.
Nevertheless, if we try to compare the catalogues of Tidal vs Spotify, we will see that Tidal have some gaps of songs and albums which aren’t available in the service, but available on Spotify. So, we can say that Spotify is still the one with the larger collection. But this is not a total deal-breaker because Tidal has lots of features and exclusives – more on that below.
Both Tidal and Spotify can connect wired or wirelessly to various home audio devices. Both of the two music streaming services are available as mobile apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. In addition, both services are available as PC and web-based apps. So, basically, you can access both Tidal and Spotify using any device with a web browser.
However, Spotify is better in this aspect because it supports two more platforms that are quite popular: Windows Phone and PS4. Which means, if you are using Windows Phone, you can install the app rather than using a web browser to listen to your music. You can also stream your favorite beats while playing your favorite games on PS4. Tidal does not provide any support for Windows Phone or PS4, which may be a thing to consider if you are an avid fan of those platforms.
Features and Playlists
One of the most popular features of Spotify is none other than the Discover Weekly. It is a playlist specially crafted for every user, updated at the start of every week. It is based on your preferred genres and favorite songs and artists. Nevertheless, the Discover Weekly feature may not come up immediately for a new user because it needs a few weeks to get to know your music tastes. It is a great way to discover new songs and artists. Spotify also has Daily Mixes, which are made according to your listening habits as well.
Spotify has some music videos in the app, and it has links to HD music videos on YouTube. There are Spotify Sessions that can give you exclusive content from popular artists.
Tidal also pays serious attention to provide curated playlists to its users. It has various curated playlists from music journalists and artists. It has built-in HD music videos along with other exclusives in the app. Recently, Tidal has attracted many people with its exclusives from many big names like Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Jay-Z. Some of them have even given Tidal subscribers early access to purchase their concert tickets.
Spotify is available in a free ad-supported version. This free version already allows you to access various songs, albums, and artists. But you can only play in the shuffle mode with a limited number of skips, and you will come across an ad every few tracks. Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month, and will unlock the entire features of the service including offline listening and the “extreme” streaming quality.
Spotify also has a student plan called Spotify Premium for Students, which is cheaper as it costs only $4.99 per month. And it includes Hulu’s Limited Commercials plan. Spotify Family costs $14.99 per month to provide five premium accounts.
On the other hand, Tidal is currently not available in any free option. Tidal Premium costs $9.99 to provide unlimited listening with the 320 kbps maximum streaming quality. Tidal Hi-Fi costs $19.99 to provide the Hi-Fi lossless streaming quality.
|- Hi-Fi lossless maximum streaming quality||- 320 kbps maximum streaming quality|
|- Many exclusives and early-access to concert tickets||- Discover Weekly, Daily Mixes, Spotify Sessions|
|- Does not support Windows Phone and PS4||- Supports major platforms including Windows Phone and PS4|
|- No free version||- Has a free ad-supported version and several subscription options|
Tidal vs Spotify, which is the way to go? It depends. Both have their own pros and cons. If you are an audiophile who enjoy the Hi-Fi lossless audio quality, Tidal is the way. You may also want to choose Tidal if you can benefit from the exclusives and the early-access to some artists’ concert tickets. Otherwise, Spotify is the way to go, especially if you want to use the service on Windows Phone or PS4. Spotify can be cheaper too, depending on the subscription plan that you choose.