Tidal got cheaper and launched a new free tier, but is that enough?

Tidal has announced an updated subscription tier, which includes an ad-supported free tier, a $9.99 per month CD-quality tier, and an upgraded $19.99 plan.

High tide has updated its subscription tiers and now offers an ad-supported option as well as a cheaper Hi-Fi plan for the first time. Whether the changes are enough to compete with the growing number of music-streaming subscription options remains to be seen. For reference, these changes are as follows recent acquisition Company by Square.

Tidal’s initial pitch to the world was that it would offer lossless and high-res lossless music in its catalogue. However, the method of tides provide lossless music Depends on MQA. The audio codec folds (or compresses) hi-res content into a CD-quality format to save on bandwidth. Then, when it arrives on a device, the Tidal app unfolds (uncompressed) the audio file to revert to the original audio file. In the process of folding/compressing the file, MQA hides that data within the lower frequencies, which can cause some distortion when uncompressing later. Tidal says nothing is lost in the files, but there have been several studies that argue otherwise.

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related: I Switched From Spotify To Apple Music For 1 Month — Here’s What Happened

Good news for those who use Tidal but don’t care about MQA, the company has announced that it is changing its subscription levels. Starting at the bottom, Tidal will now offer a free ad-supported tier. This free option streams at a low 160Kbps bitrate and, of course, contains ads. While TIDAL’s press release is vague, it appears that, unlike Spotify, TIDAL will allow users to access the entire catalog for free and on-demand, with only ads. Tidal is also changing its paid tiers, now with a new $9.99 per month Hi-Fi tier. This middle tier is basically the old top-end plan, capped only at CD quality (1411 kbps). In comparison, the top-end tier now offers customers Hi-Fi, MQA (24-bit, up to 96 kHz) and spatial audio via both Dolby Atmos. and Sony 360 Reality Audio, In addition, Tidal is introducing Direct Artist Pay, which will give up to 10 percent subscriptions to the artists a subscriber listens to the most. Coming in 2022, Tidal will also present “Fan-Centered Royalty” Which will pay artists based on streaming habits. For now, Tidal will let the user “Track and share how your listening habits affect your favorite artists,” Which will probably be added to the feature coming next year.

The tide does change, but is it enough?

While these changes are much needed, they may not be enough to entice users to switch. Apple Music and Amazon Music HD deliver lossless, hi-res lossless and surround sound music in their base levels. While Spotify Pricing not yet announced, it would probably be doing the same thing. With that in mind, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to pay double the subscription cost of Tidal just to get access to MQA and spatial audio.

Direct artist payments and fan-focused royalties are interesting ideas but, again, will most users care? The vast majority of mainstream music listeners are likely to listen passively. In the case of Spotify, a good chunk of users listen AI-Based Playlists Otherwise too. For audiophiles, the MQA is likely to consider chasing just-right sound quality a bit too much. Not to mention, with modern cellular networks and home Wi-Fi connections, high-res lossless music streaming can easily be achieved with the standard FLAC format.

next: How to Set Up Tidal on Apple Watch and Listen to Songs Offline

Source: High tide

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