Music streaming

Tide review: streaming music with a difference

Owned by Jay-Z, Tidal is one of the best streaming services available today. Subscribe and you’ll get 80 million tracks in a variety of lossless audio formats between 1411 kbps and 9216 kbps, as well as 350,000 videos. But all that being said, you’ll pay the price if you want the full enchilada. So is it worth the penny?

Tide review: Features


(Image credit: tide)

Tidal doesn’t just offer new albums and playlists, there’s a smart level of curation at work here that makes the service incredibly easy to listen to. In addition to the usual recommendations, derived from your listening history, there are powerful music discovery tools that let you explore genres and polish bios.

Start with a random search for Pink Floyd and you’ll gain access to Floyd backgrounds such as New York psychedelic rockers The Fugs and their British counterparts The Deviants. An afternoon on Tidal will make anyone an expert on rock trivia as you disappear down the rabbit hole.

Tide review: user experience

The Tidal catalog goes hand in hand with its rivals, with plenty of rock, metal, prog, and punk at a search bar.

While the home page invariably leads with leads that aren’t of much interest to us, you don’t have to scroll far to find things that interest you.

A “Producers and Songwriters” rail offers a playlist of work from creators that you have already shown a tendency to like, and it comes in very handy. Right now my Tidal tab features a collection of tracks by Tuomas Holopainen, which in addition to the well-known Nightwish hymns steer me towards lesser-known belts from Amorphis and Gregorian as well.

There’s also a good selection of “New Tracks Suggested” as well as a bunch of “Because You Listened…” recommendations. Sadly, the Tidal video tab seems to work regardless of your musical preferences, offering generic pop and rap – which is sort of a missed opportunity.

However, the Explore function is more useful. You’re encouraged to jump down a specific rabbit hole (we get metal, rock / indie, but no prog or punk) and meander through artists and labels.

Tide review: audio options

Tidal is an evolving feast when it comes to sound quality – but be prepared to pay the extra if you want sound superiority.

Stick to the basic Tidal HiFi level at $ 9.99 / £ 9.99, and you’ll be able to access lossless audio format and high quality audio up to 1411 kbps. For many, that will be enough, and you’ll still have access to Tidal’s cool music discovery features.

But invest in Tidal HiFi Plus at $ 19.99 / £ 19.99 per month and things get a little more interesting. Open that door and you will be greeted by immersive audio formats including MQA, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and HiFi up to 9216 kbps, providing a great listening experience.

MQA is an advanced audio format that is often described as musical origami. An MQA file can be streamed on a low bandwidth, but unfolds to reveal extra detail and greater dynamics when it lands, a welcome reward if you have a high-quality, high-resolution headset, or if you’re streaming over a computer. Hi-Fi system. The best MQA files are like stepping in the door of a recording studio.

You can spot MQA encoded albums by the Master logo below the artist list.

And when it comes to Dolby Atmos 3D cinema-style sound, run the Tidal app on an Android smart TV or media player like Amazon’s Fire TV streaming stick, and if you’re HiFi level and have a system. Dolby Atmos audio, you’ll ‘I’ll be able to rock in circles.

The Atmos “Classic Rock Classics” playlist is arguably worth the price of a sub on its own. The Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop coming at you from all angles is the closest to reliving a night at CBGB, while Sum 41’s In Too Deep is 360 degree skateboarding punk nirvana.

Tide report: benefits for artists

Tidal recently unveiled its direct payment plan for artists which sees 10% of your HiFi Plus subscription going straight to the artists you listen to the most, while the new Fan-Centered Royalties initiative is based on “actual streaming activity.” of fans versus the accepted industry method. aggregate the feeds and assign them to the most popular artists, ”according to Tidal.

This new way of paying artists is expected to take effect from January 2022, and subscribers will start seeing their feeds added to their activity feed as soon as the service launches. This is a move away from some other payment plans and could cause a shift in the streaming industry.

Tide review: the alternatives

If you want Hi-Res sound for less than the tidal load price, upgrade to Qobuz. This is our preferred Hi-Res Audio service at the best value for money. The Qobuz Studio Premier plan costs just £ 15 per month, but offers 24-bit high resolution with a catalog comparable to Tidal. There is no shortage of rock, metal or prog, even if it does not have the same editorialized curation as Tidal

If Hi-Res Audio isn’t yet a luxury you have to afford, Spotify comes highly recommended. It’s widely supported on everything from the Sonos multiroom kit to Sky Q TV boxes, and increasingly has a well-integrated podcast catalog.

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