Streaming: Spotify or Tidal

Ricardo Rodriguez

When Jay-Z first launched TIDAL, it was advertised as an enhanced music experience and better alternative to other streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music. But charging $10 per month for music access on TIDAL is hard to justify when Spotify offers its music for free.

In TIDAL’s defense, its premium service does offer a bit more than other streaming services such as certain exclusive content, better music quality, music videos, and a social media tab for all of your favorite artists.

Until now, I’ve used Spotify as my main source of music, but I decided to try the free trial of TIDAL premium to see if it’s worth the money.

After downloading the app, I noticed the layout and design were similar to Spotify, though TIDAL’s design was more aesthetically pleasing. The app was easy to navigate, but would often pause when playing music. Because TIDAL streams at 1.4mbps for better sound quality while Spotify caps out at 320kbps, I suggest having a strong 4G network if you plan on using TIDAL.

With that being said, the music does actually sound better if you’re in a very quiet place with decent headphones. After a few listens, you can tell the music is much fuller and the bass is a little deeper, however, it was hard to notice the upgrade in quality anywhere in public for example on campus, at the gym, or even driving.

Initially, I was concerned about TIDAL’s content, however, I found a lot of interesting and obscure music in its expansive library of artists. Although I don’t use the feature all that often, TIDAL also streams music videos, which is a nice additional source of entertainment.

Ultimately, TIDAL does everything Spotify does and a little bit more. TIDAL also pays more royalties to the artists, so at least some of your money is going to the artist. Another selling point is the fact that it’s ad free, which is probably a better incentive than the higher sound quality.

If all this interests you, I recommend using the free trial. If nothing else, you can use it to listen to TIDAL’s exclusive content like Kanye West’s new album, Taylor Swift and some classic Jay-Z. After that, if you’re cheap like me, you can cancel the membership and go crawling back to Spotify.