This is TIDAL, a different bet for the crowded world of streaming music

Another wannabe to replace Spotify. This streaming music thing is starting to look like the megahertz race of the early 2000’s . Boring. No doubt, this is what many will have thought when reading TIDAL’s entry in an already crowded market.

TIDAL is the umpteenth aspirant to compete for a slice of that increasingly elusive user attention. The day is only twenty-four hours long and people have very limited budgets dedicated to music. What could TIDAL offer that Spotify or any other does not?

TIDAL is not for everyone

This is TIDAL, a different bet for the crowded world of streaming music
This is TIDAL, a different bet for the crowded world of streaming music

TIDAL is a niche app and as such is aimed at a very exclusive audience

Spotify’s staunchest users will surely be impressed by the benefits of TIDAL and its streaming music service. The truth is that is not something aimed at the general public , as Spotify points out with its offer. The Swedish app has two types of users: freemium and paid users.

Well known to everyone, the free version incorporates ads that we must endure from time to time in exchange for listening to their catalogue. The subscription eliminates this hassle and adds several more extra features.

TIDAL has a very different approach. There is only a paid subscription , on two types of levels (they have enabled a 30-day trial period for each):

  1. TIDAL premium for $9.99 per month offers standard sound quality, high-definition music videos and elaborate editorial content.
  2. TIDAL HiFi is $19.99 per month and the difference with the previous one is that the sound quality is Lossless.

If you don’t know what Lossless is, chances are this streaming music service is not for you . TIDAL is not for everyone, for the simple reason that when you set a price to access it, it is already a major barrier to entry.

TIDAL is a niche company and by definition, it is a smaller portion of a market but is very profitable. This is the only way to understand what it puts on the table. There is a very small group of people interested in high quality music, they are the artists and audiophiles.

People who value very much the ability to listen to a song as it was conceived , without those mutilations perpetrated by the most popular audio formats. People who spend (they will say they invest) hundreds of euros on headphones and equipment to listen to music as faithfully as possible.

I admit I’m not one of those people. But that hasn’t stopped me from recognizing the value that TIDAL can have for that niche we were talking about.

An excellent app with an extensive catalogue

I’m writing these lines while listening to deadmau5. I don’t know him and I wouldn’t have known him if he wasn’t in the first row right after launching the app. Those who know me know that I have been trying to renew my music library for a long time. I’ve been using Spotify for a few months now but the amount of options, menus and listings is overwhelming.
Tidal, la enésima app de streaming.

A few days ago we published on Apple 10 alternatives to Spotify for listening to streaming music. Of all of them there were few that I was curious about using them a little longer. Now that TIDAL has been released I can say that has quickly been placed at the top of that small list.

You have to be different to be able to charge a premium on your products

An impeccably designed and easy to navigate app that earns points for beginners of this service. But the real attraction is found in a catalogue of 25 million songs, slightly less than Spotify with around 30 million. Thanks to the support of top artists like Jay-Z (its main owner), Beyoncé, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Chris Martin or Rihanna, it is able to offer exclusive albums long before they are released in other media.

Because TIDAL is directly owned by artists , something they hope to use to attract others disenchanted with the Spotify model. For example, Taylor Swift, who has made all her albums available to the service except “1989”.

The real Beats competition?

It’s no secret that TIDAL is offering something that clashes with what Beats is supposed to be. The biggest acquisition in Apple’s history is set to revolutionize music again and bring iTunes back to life . To do this, it has a much more precise and appropriate music healing than any algorithm provides.

But there are other common areas. Discontented voices among the world of creators are beginning to become a clamour and make it necessary to reinvent the way they are rewarded. TIDAL is born from artists as a way of giving them back more fairly than the current model.

Apple hasn’t stood still at this point either. They know that for their service to succeed they will need the support of the great musical artists. This is how they have signed several, among them the founders of Beats Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and recently Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails .

The streaming music market has been receiving replicas and clones for some time now. It may be time for services like TIDAL or Beats to give it a spin. But we shouldn’t underestimate the scale at which Apple’s response will be launched. While TIDAL will have to start from scratch, being a serial app on the hundreds of millions of active iOS devices can be a great starting point.


  • Developer: Aspiro Music AS
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: iOS 7.
  • Price: free, by subscription.
  • Download it from the App Store


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