Tidal review

In a market with dozens of popular music streaming services, Tidal stands out from the rest thanks to high-quality sound and exclusive content. It has an outstanding catalog, with nearly 60 million songs and more than 225,000 high-definition music videos

Norwegian company Aspiro launched Tidal in the United States in 2014. Jay-Z acquired the company in 2015. It’s the first streaming platform owned entirely by artists. In addition to Jay-Z, stars like Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Madonna and many others are stakeholders in the company. According to Forbes, Tidal reported having 3 million subscribers in 2016.

A comparison of Tidal packages

Each of Tidal’s subscription plans offers subscribers access to the full 60 million song library, 250,000 high-definition music videos, exclusive content and offline listening.

Tidal Premium Tidal Student Premium Tidal Family Premium Tidal HiFi Tidal Student HiFi Tidal Family HiFi
Monthly price$9.99/mo.$4.99/mo.$14.99/mo.$19.99/mo.$9.99/mo.$29.99/mo.
Free trial length30 days30 days30 days30 days30 days30 days
Number of songs60 million+60 million+60 million+60 million+60 million+60 million+
Number of account users161116
Sound quality320 kbps320 kbps320 kbps1411 kbps1411 kbps1411 kbps

How much is Tidal compared to competitors?

With a base rate of $9.99/mo. and discounts for students and military personnel, Tidal’s prices are level with many other major streamers. Spotify and Pandora also start at $9.99/mo. and give you similar deductions. Tidal’s HiFi plan costs more than its competitors, with a starting rate of $19.99/mo. Amazon Music, for example, has a high definition sound plan for $12.99/mo. The company doesn’t feature a free version or a Tidal value plan, unlike many other streaming services.

Why Tidal could be the right streaming service for you

While most music streaming services give you a straight listening experience, Tidal offers a music-driven lifestyle. Beyond the 60 million-plus song library, it’s a platform where artists and audiences connect via interviews, articles, artist-curated playlists and event tickets. If you want to learn more about your favorite musicians, then Tidal should be at the top of your list.

User experience

Tidal’s sleek interface is organized by themed playlists in various categories, including new music, genres, mood, time of day and specific events, like Coachella. You’ll also find sections with video content and articles. You can easily search for songs and albums and add them to playlists. Tidal also allows you to create Pandora-like radio stations around artists you enjoy. Share playlists, tracks or albums easily via email or social media.

Tidal Premium accounts only give one user access to the service. Choosing a Family Plan increases the number of authorized people to six. The Tidal app features offline listening on up to five devices per user. Meaning, you can download tracks and listen on multiple devices without an internet connection even with a single user plan.

Device compatibility

Tidal is compatible with Android and iOS desktop browsers and mobile apps. It also functions with smart TVs, TV streaming platforms, smart speakers and vehicles equipped with Apple CarPlay.

All of Tidal’s plans are compatible with the following devices:

  • All iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Amazon Echo (via Alexa skill)
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Apple Watch
  • Desktop app
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung Multiroom
  • Samsung Smart TVs (2017 and newer)
  • Sonos

Tidal features

Tidal offers one of the most extensive streaming libraries and high sound quality in addition to exclusive content. Here are some of the platform’s best features.

Highest quality sound

Tidal HiFi features a selection of songs with Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) audio, the highest quality in streaming audio at an average rate of 96 kHz/24 bit. Albums in the collection include The Beatles’ Abbey Road and David Bowie’s Young Americans.

Customized suggestions

Tidal makes personalized suggestions with MyMix. The feature follows your behaviors in the platform and creates up to six music curations based on your evolving listening habits and genres you enjoy.

Playlist importing

If you already use other music streaming services, Tidal makes it easy to transfer your music library and playlists from platforms like iTunes, Spotify and more.

Exclusive content

You’ll enjoy early access to music and videos from top artists before they’re available anywhere else.

Event tickets

In addition to exclusive content, you’ll also get the opportunity to buy tickets to concerts and sporting events before the general public.

Video content

Tidal’s catalog of high-definition music videos is a perk almost none of its rivals feature.

Articles

The platform includes feature-length articles with embedded music, so you can learn more about the artists behind the content.

What to listen to on Tidal

Tidal’s extensive library of songs gives you plenty to choose from, but exclusive content, like the early release of Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo, is what really makes the streaming service stand out. Tidal HiFi gives you access to studio mastered versions of iconic works, like David Bowie’s Young Americans with flawless sound you won’t hear anywhere other than in the mastering suite. Tidal also features a collection of podcasts, including some exclusive video podcasts, like Next Level with Jorge Bernal.

How to sign up for Tidal

Unlike most other music streaming services, Tidal doesn’t offer a free, ad-supported plan. No matter which plan you select, however, you’ll start with a 30-day free trial. Visit the sign-up page and click Start Free Trial. Enter your payment information, and you’ll be ready to go. 

The takeaway

If you’re looking for a streaming platform that offers tons of extra features, Tidal is it. With an incredible library, the highest sound quality, exclusive content and early access to events, it provides a top-tier music streaming service. If you’re not interested in all the bells and whistles, you might prefer a more basic streaming plan that features a value option.

Shahrzad Warkentin

Contributing Writer

Shahrzad Warkentin is a lifestyle writer specializing in entertainment and pop culture. She has spent the last ten years crafting content, reviews and news stories on film, television, music and books among other topics. After receiving her B.A. in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, she began her writing career in film and television. Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she loves hitting the beach with her family and catching up on Netflix.