Tidal is a streaming music service supported by some of the most influential artists working in the industry.
- A library offering millions of tracks in a range of genres
- Support for offline listening
- Lossless streaming allows for a crisper and more consistent listening experience
- Offers an ethical approach to artist royalties
- Provides some of the best sound quality available in the business
- Supplemented by a wealth of video and written content
- Pricier than many other streaming services
- High-quality streaming can quickly drain data
If the rise of digital file sharing proved anything, it's that artists need to learn to adapt to the times. Programs like Napster and Limewire created convenient and flexible new methods for music lovers to enjoy their favorite artists, but it also created an ethical conversation about how art should be distributed and monetized. Times have changed since then. Napster is long gone, and apps like Spotify have made streaming the de facto modern method for listening to music. Initially created for music aficionados as an alternative for users that demanded a higher level of sonic fidelity than services like Spotify offer, Tidal has since been bought out by mogul and rap superstar Jay-Z. This has increased its prominence and drawn a variety of artists under its banner, and today it exists as one of the best music streaming services around. If services like Spotify and YouTube are the all you can eat buffets of the music world, Tidal occupies a more sophisticated approach to music consumption, and this seeps in through basically every aspect of the service. The role of the artist occupies center stage in the Tidal app. Tidal is conscientious about offering a more generous payment structure for the artist's on their platform, a response to the criticism of the royalties offered by Spotify, and that's resulted in the platform earning praise from many in the music community while also giving them access to more direct engagement with their artists. Tidal is the home to a number of exclusive tracks you won't find on other streaming services, and their interface regularly features curated track lists and radio programs from trend setters within the industry. These are often complemented by interviews and discussions with the artists in question, creating an experience that sometimes feels like equal parts glossy scene magazine and music player. Further rounding out the package are a variety of exclusive videos that include sneak peeks, outtakes, and recordings of live performances. Apart from their artist-friendly approach to business, Tidal's claim to fame is their ability to provide high-quality and lossless audio. While more casual users might not be able to notice the difference in sound, audiophiles certainly will. By streaming FLAC files in full rather than compressing them like many of their competitors do, Tidal offers sound quality that resembles what you'll find on a CD or vinyl recording. This careful approach to streaming really shines through when streaming Tidal through a high-quality sound system at home or in your car. Just bear in mind that this commitment to fidelity comes at the cost of data usage, so carefully consider the data options offered through your phone provider. The interface is sleekly designed, although not all that different from other streaming UIs on the market. Users can store and edit their own playlists and also download music to listen to online. Due to the premium nature of the service, no free subscription option is available.