The way we listen to music has changed a lot over the years. Most people have given up physical CD copies and purchased separate digital songs for streaming services.
Rather than owning music, streaming involves paying monthly subscription costs to access music. This allows us to listen to much more music than we once could legally.
Music streaming is currently the business’ greatest growing source of income, as around 68 million individuals over the globe subscribe to music streaming services.
Two of the biggest streaming services are Tidal and Spotify. Spotify began in 2008 and has since become one of the most popular subscription services in the world.
Despite this, Spotify’s competitors like Apple Music (see also ‘How Many Users Does Spotify Have Vs. Apple Music?‘) and Google Play are making it harder for the service to stay at the top.
Tidal is another popular music streaming service that has concentrated on delivering amazing sound quality. Examples include hi-res FLAC-based sound files and CD-quality lossless streaming.
Tidal also has a specific Master Quality Authenticated Masters area of hi-res songs.
If you’re struggling to choose between Tidal vs Spotify, you’re in the right place! We’ve outlined the differences between these streaming platforms below.
Keep reading to find out which streaming service is the best for you, Tidal vs Spotify.
If price is your concern, Spotify will be your best bet. You can opt for the free version that allows you to play songs with advertisements after every few songs.
Other drawbacks are that audio quality is limited to 160kbps and you can only skip songs six times every hour when listening on your mobile.
These drawbacks disappear when you pay for Spotify Premium. At $9.99 a month, you can listen to as much music as you like without any ads. Search and skip is limitless, and the audio quality improves to 320kbps.
You can save songs to listen to them offline later.
Spotify also has a Premium Family plan that costs $15.99 a month. This allows a maximum of six users at the same address to use the streaming service.
There are also parental controls if you’re worried about young children accessing explicit content.
Tidal doesn’t have a free subscription plan, but they do offer a 30-day trial.
Tidal’s least expensive plan is called Tidal Premium. It costs $9.99 a month, streams songs at 320kbps, and is completely free from ads.
You can pay $19.99 to access Tidal’s HiFi. This gives you access to most of Tidal’s archives in undefeated CD quality, as well as over 25,000 hi-res songs known as Masters.
Tidal lets you download music to listen offline, just like Spotify (see also ‘Spotify Vs. Soundcloud‘) does. They also have a Family service that costs $14.99 for the Premium version and $29.99 for the HiFi version.
However, Tidal’s Family plans only cover five users, while Spotify’s version covers six.
Overall, you’ll get more out of Spotify (see also our comparison of Spotify and Google Podcast) based on a subscription service.
Spotify started six years before Tidal did, but it still doesn’t have a larger music library. Both Tidal and Spotify (see also our comparison of Spotify and Pandora) give access to over 60 million songs, but some artists choose to have their tracks solely on one service.
Spotify has also come under fire from artists for low payments as well as their ad-supported free version. Taylor Swift is a famous example who pulled all of her music from the service in 2014, though this has since been resolved.
Tidal claims that it is owned by artists and says that it’s the streaming service that pays the highest amount to musicians.
Jay Z has invested in the service which is why some of his albums were exclusive to Tidal, including Lemonade by Beyonce.
Spotify claims that it doesn’t want to restrict those that don’t use Spotify by locking musicians into select contracts.
Nevertheless, most music streaming services will be missing some songs and artists, so always check before selecting one.
Overall, both streaming services have an equally large music library, but you should make sure that your favorite artists are on yours before you choose one.
Spotify sets itself apart from other competitors thanks to its music recommendation abilities.
The platform has a notable ‘Discover Weekly’ ability which uses machine learning and AI to recommend a playlist of 30 tracks that you might like, based on your music preferences. The feature is well loved due to its accuracy.
Spotify also sends two-hour Release Radar playlists on Fridays which are full of new songs. The recommendations will become more accurate the more you listen.
The service also puts five playlists together based on your most listened-to genre. All of these features mean that Spotify is the leader in finding new music.
Tidal does have some music discovery abilities, but these aren’t as remarkable compared to Spotify’s. Tidal Rising showcases new artists, while the What’s New area collects carefully chosen content.
Tidal also categorizes playlists based on your mood, but Spotify’s many different playlists and features make it the winner when it comes to discovering music.
Tidal Premium and Spotify Premium stream content at 320kbps, but Tidal’s streams seem to be of better sound quality.
Tidal has a feature where users can listen to songs in better than CD quality. The Hi-Fi plan also gives you access to 25,000 Master songs in high-resolution MQA streams.
Tidal Master tracks have a small ‘M’ label in the title. This signifies that the track is of amazing quality straight from the leading source, carrying the sound quality that the artist initially intended to deliver.
Tidal Masters used to only be available with the desktop version, but this has changed since, as Masters can be listened to on every Android phone.
In terms of audio quality, Tidal wins over Spotify.
The Bottom Line: Spotify vs Tidal
Overall, Spotify has many features that make it the most popular music streaming service to date.
It has a free advertisement-supported version, while its Premium version is first-rate at discovering new music. If you’re looking for a versatile streaming service, you can’t go wrong with Spotify.
Despite this, Spotify does lack in terms of sound quality. If you value high-quality audio, Tidal is the service for you.
Paying more for the HiFi version will also give you access to high-resolution content, so this may be something to consider if you want better-sounding audio.