If you’re in the market for a streaming service, Apple Music or Tidal may be the right choice for you. Here’s a look at the differences between these two services.
Apple Music vs Tidal
Apple Music, which debuted in 2015, is centered around streaming music. Music from CDs or iTunes can be added, as can videos. Apple envisions Apple Music as more of a “culture platform” than just a music streaming service.
Official information on Apple Music’s total subscriber count was last made available in 2019, when the service had already amassed 60 million users. It was predicted that 72 million would exist by June 2020. But as of March 2021, Spotify had 158 million paying customers. However, Apple Music doesn’t have to compete with Spotify for listeners because it already has a loyal fan base.
Since 2015, Apple Music has undergone consistent development and added new features, which is both refreshing and essential in an industry with such a high level of competition. Notable upgrades include an updated design for the iOS app and a recent statement that Apple Music will get Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and the option to listen to over 75 million tracks in lossless audio beginning in June 2021. Both of these additions are scheduled to take place in the following year.
With Apple Music beating Spotify in offering lossless audio, Tidal takes place as a great competitor.
Tidal is a high-end music streaming platform with the goals of improving the listening experience, bolstering the creative agency of musicians, and strengthening the bonds between listeners and their favorite performers.
Famous musicians like Madonna, Usher, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, and Alicia Keys are among Tidal’s investors. Tidal also aims to develop a “more sustainable model for the music industry” as part of its dedication to the “artists for artists” credo.
As of June 2021, Tidal’s collection contains more than 70 million songs and 250,000 videos. The service is offered in 61 countries. There is no recent information regarding the number of subscribers accessible.
It also didn’t help that Tidal lost $55.3 million in 2019, likely because its subscribers are going down. Because of this, Tidal may still have between 1 and 5 million subscribers in 2021.
Tidal is still one of the best options for audiophile-Tidal sound. And now that Square, Inc. is running things, we can expect significant changes in the future.
Previously, the free trial period for Apple Music was three months, but the company has since reduced it to one month.
If you’re a regular user, your monthly subscription will cost $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99, while a student subscription will cost $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$5.99. If you have two separate Apple Music subscriptions, you can only use one at a time. Alternatively, a family subscription costs $14.99 / £14.99 / AU$17.99 per month, allowing up to six individuals to listen simultaneously with their own accounts.
It is important to note that there is no free tier supported by advertisements like there is with Spotify. It’s possible that offering a free trial of the complete service for three months is the best move for your business. Still, it’s almost certain that doing so will discourage some customers who may have stayed on the free tier for over three months and eventually upgraded.
On the other hand, there was a decrease in the service’s original price, which was largely beneficial. Tidal offers only $9.99 a month for lossless streaming. There is a free 30-day trial for new customers. For $19.99 a month, Tidal HiFi Plus users can stream at bitrates of up to 9,216Kbps, and Tidal will give up to 10% of each user’s subscription fee to the artist who has been rushed the most.
That’s unusual in a field that profits immensely from musicians yet pays them very little. There are two family plans available on Tidal, one for $14.99 a month (Tidal HiFi) and one for $29.99 a month, that each provides six household members with their own Tidal account (Tidal HiFi Plus).
Students can purchase Tidal HiFi for $4.99/month and HiFi Plus for $9.99/month. Active-duty service members and veterans get $5.99/month for HiFi and $11.99/month for HiFi Plus. Student discounts require SheerID verification. Tidal now offers a free streaming tier with access to its complete repertoire but 160Kbps quality.
Music Catalog and offline playback
Apple Music has more than 75 million tunes accessible to stream, making it a more extensive music library than Spotify at the time this article was written. Even if the quality is obviously more essential than quantity, the fact that Apple Music has managed to catch up in such a short time is nevertheless rather astounding.
There are also many high-profile exclusives, such as albums being released first on Apple Music by artists including Taylor Swift, Drake, and Britney Spears.
Not only is it important to find new music, but it’s also essential to appreciate the music you already have. The music you already possess on iTunes, whether purchased there or ripped from a CD, will be integrated with the streaming service when you subscribe to Apple Music.
This is an excellent way to consolidate your music into a single location. Spotify provides functionality comparable to that of Apple Music; however, you cannot search your music library of owned tunes and streaming tracks as effectively as you can with Apple Music. The connection feels more natural with Apple Music.
Tidal features dozens of curated playlists organized into themed collections according to feelings, times of day, and special occasions like the holidays. It brings to mind Songza, a now-defunct music streaming service centered on playlists and the model for a great deal of imitation, which is not at all a bad thing. Tidal’s playlists might not be as eccentric as LiveXLive’s “Yacht Rock” or “55 Songs You Think Suck,” but “Denim & Leather” will transport metal fans to the height of the heavy metal craze in the 1970s and 1980s.
Other sections highlight albums, music, and videos. You can browse genre categories or use the search box to find a piece. Audio Search, a Shazam-like feature that analyzes audio and provides song information, seems to be gone. Tidal’s Android and iOS apps allow offline playback.
The music catalog is vast. Tidal has deals with Sony, Universal, Warner, and indie labels. We have Arcade Fire, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, The Dirtbombs, and Harlem. Tidal has a good range of film and video game soundtracks, so you may listen to “Blade Runner Blues” in Master-quality.
You can, of course, make a radio station based on your favorite songs and artists. Tidal doesn’t have collaborative playlists like Spotify, so you can’t have your friends add pieces to your lists.
After August 2022, no other streaming service will match Apple Music’s lossless audio for music enthusiasts. In February of 2021, Spotify announced the upcoming release of their Spotify HiFi tier. It’s 2022 now, and Spotify still hasn’t released HiFi. If Spotify ever gets released, it will provide CD-quality sound but will be limited in availability.
Apple Music now offers free high-resolution streaming. It now streams 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz, and 24-bit/192kHz audio and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos content. Moreover, it transmits content at 256kbps using the AAC audio format and a single high-quality Bluetooth codec: AAC. Lastly, it streams at high-res by default and reduces quality while using cellular data. This parameter can disable the quality throttle.
Tidal Premium users can stream tracks in the AAC file format and choose between two different audio quality settings: Normal (96 kbps) and High (320 kbps). On the other hand, Tidal HiFi offers two extra lossless audio levels: HiFi (1,411 kbps) and Master (2,304 kbps – 9,216 kbps). These settings use the FLAC and MQA formats, respectively.
Due to the necessity for specialized software and hardware, not all gadgets are capable of playing lossless audio. Let’s say your headphones can’t play lossless audio. In such a situation, the HiFi membership will be for naught since the audio quality would default to the default feature. Unfortunately, your Android or iPhone alone will not be compatible with lossless formats. You will really need the proper equipment to achieve the best experience. A converter device would also be a great investment option, especially for die-hard audiophiles.
The sound quality is also affected by the network connection you use, particularly if you are streaming lossless MQA files from Tidal. Your listening experience will be negatively impacted, and the high cost of your Hi-Fi membership will be for naught if you do not have a reliable connection, which will merely result in choppy audio.
Where can you use these apps?
Apple Music is compatible with devices other than iPhones. It’s compatible with every Apple product on the market, from iPods and Macs to Apple Watch (cellular variants included), Apple TV, HomePod Mini, and CarPlay.
If you’re not a fan of Apple’s walled garden, you still have options on devices that aren’t made by the company. Your Apple Music subscription will be compatible with Sonos and the Amazon Echo family of smart speakers, and it will also be accessible via the iTunes program for PCs. Thanks to an Android app, Apple Music may now be streamed to any Chromecast device on the same local network.
On the other hand, Tidal’s mobile app is compatible with iPhones and iOS devices running iOS 13 or later and Android devices running Android 6 or later. The Tidal desktop app can be downloaded for free on computers running macOS on devices running OS X 10.10+ and higher and on computers running Windows on operating systems that are at least Windows 7 and higher. You can also use a browser player, which is compatible with Chrome and Firefox, to listen to content on Tidal.
You can also stream tunes to a variety of other devices with the help of Tidal Connect. These other devices include sound systems from Cambridge Audio and KEF and automobiles equipped with Apple’s AirPlay and Android Auto. You may check to see if your device supports or is compatible by going to the Tidal Connect website.
How to discover new music?
At the time of this writing, Apple Music has a more extensive music catalog available for streaming (over 75 million songs) than Tidal. Although the quality of the songs is more significant than the sheer number of them, Apple Music’s progress in this area is nevertheless remarkable, considering the company’s late entry into the streaming music market.
This is about embracing what you have, not just discovering new music. Apple Music mixes iTunes purchases and CD rips with the streaming platform. This helps organize your music. Spotify offers similar capabilities, but you can’t access owned and streaming tunes as efficiently as with Apple Music.
Apple Music does not offer podcasts but thousands of music videos and non-stop radio stations. This human touch is fantastic for discovering new songs. Plus, you have the option to listen in lossless formats.
The three stations, Apple Music Hits, Apple Music 1 (formerly Beats 1), and Apple Music Country, all play music 24/7, mixed by DJs on live radio shows. There are also excellent shows that are put on by musicians. Importantly, you don’t need an Apple Music subscription to listen to these radio stations.
Like Apple Music, Tidal has its own editorial teams producing a wealth of playlists and other content, in addition to numerous guests who submit their own playlists (for example, What Hi-Fi?). Tidal’s ‘Explore’ option is helpful because it recommends albums, artists, TV series, and podcasts.
Tidal Rising is another feature that tries to promote unsigned and emerging musicians. And Artist Radios, which you can listen to from each band’s Tidal page, feature their own music and those of similar acts.
Can you share music?
Tidal and Apple Music allow users to share music with others, but they do so in slightly different ways. You can make your unique playlists on both Apple Music and Tidal, but how do you invite others to listen to your selections? We’ve highlighted some key differences to help you choose between these two music-sharing apps.
When subscribing to Apple Music, you can share your personalized playlists with your friends. If you’ve connected with your friends, the For You tab will display the music they’re currently listening to. Apple Music also includes a function known as a “smart playlist,” which enables users to compile playlists without having to individually add each song and allows them to share those playlists with their pals easily.
In addition, users can share songs and albums from their Apple Music library via Messages, Mail, AirDrop, and other methods with their social media friends. In the same vein, this is the approach to take if you need to generate a link to post on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook.
On the other hand, Tidal does not include similar social features; however, those users who have connected their accounts with Facebook can listen to tracks that their Facebook friends have added to playlists on the service.
Besides, if you own an android device, you can still share your playlists with your friends. Just press and hold the track, tap the Share button, and select any social media app installed on your phone. If they click on the link, the artist’s name and the song’s title will be broadcast, along with a clickable link to the music itself.
Do they connect with speakers and voice assistants?
Apple Music Voice Plan is the newest and the most cost-effective tier feature, and is now available when you subscribe to Apple. Over 75 million songs from the streaming service are available to play on compatible devices, but you can only access them by speaking track or playlist requests into Siri.
The primary devices Apple supports are the HomePod and AirPod, and users can only access Apple Music by using voice commands. The new feature costs $4.99 per month, significantly less than the standard individual plan, which costs $9.99 per month. It is due to the service’s reduced feature set.
If you subscribe to the streaming service, you can use Siri to play music, create playlists, find information about songs, add songs to your library, play songs from your favorite artists, also discover new music. Sadly, compared to Tidal, which also utilizes Siri Shortcuts, it appears to lack several features and is more complex, unlike Apple Music.
Subscriptions to the Voice Plan have only limited access to the Apple Music app. However, rather than browsing through the entire library, the app will present a “Listen Now” screen so that users can view recently played music and assist them in locating additional suggestions. You can play it by tapping the screen or commanding Siri to do so, and it includes a section dedicated to teaching users how to make the most of Siri.
Aside from that, users can give feedback by saying, “I like this song” or “I don’t like this song” to Siri. They can also learn more about the music being played by asking Siri, such as who sings a song, the name of the song or album, what year it was released, and other similar questions.
Hence, using voice interactions with Apple Music will teach Siri to recognize your preferences, such as telling Siri to “play some music I like” or “play my favorite mix,” and the virtual assistant app complies by playing music that you enjoy.
Unfortunately, none of these features will work in Tidal. The only exception is that you can stream your favorite music to your HomePod from a Tidal app. Nevertheless, it may be a surprise to learn that the newest version of Tidal allows Siri to control the iOS app, just like Apple Music and Spotify.
Siri will appear when you use Tidal with a voice control designed to help you choose the music. After giving the go-ahead to play the music, Siri will tell the Tidal app on your device to comply with your voice command then the music will begin to play.
However, note that the much-requested integration of Tidal and Siri is currently available only on iPhones and iPad. Thus, the Apple HomePod Mini intelligent speaker owners do not yet have access to Tidal voice controls.
Can I listen in the car?
Tidal has joined with Apple Music as a supported music service for Apple CarPlay systems. With that, you can definitely enjoy listening to the music to whichever service you’re subscribed to.
When venturing out on the land, many motorists play Apple Music as their preferred listening option. As such, throughout your trip or commute between work and home, listening to music with a high-res sound can help you feel revitalized and reduce any annoyances or feelings of monotony you may be experiencing.
On the other hand, some people who own cars or are passionate about music might not be as familiar with Apple Music and car stereos. As a result, several simple methods for connecting Apple music in the car allow for improved functionality for users.
First, ensure that your vehicle is Apple Music-compatible, and then subscribe to Apple Music so you can listen to your playlists while on the go. After that, you can use CarPlay or AutoPlay on an iPhone or Android device to listen to Apple Music while driving.
Second, if your car does not have a CarPlay system and instead uses an older sound system, you can still listen to your Apple Music playlist in the car by using more conventional methods. For example, you can connect your device to the car’s sound system using Bluetooth or an aux input. Finally, if you search for Apple Music converters compatible with your vehicle, you can use the music you have downloaded to listen to while on the road.
Although Spotify and Apple Music control the streaming music market on CarPlay, rivals like Tidal still have access to the market. Besides that, as long as you have a Tidal subscription and the most recent version of the app, it is now ultimately possible to listen to your favorite music while driving as long as you have that app.
Those who have subscribed to Jay-streaming Z’s service can play their most-loved tracks, albums, and playlists while driving their vehicles. To listen to Apple’s in-car system, they need a compatible radio. However, the vast majority of newer models come equipped with their audio systems, which typically make it simple to connect the streaming service of your choice.
In most cases, you can do so via a built-in app, Bluetooth, or a wired connection. If your vehicle is equipped with Android Auto, you’ll also have access to Apple Music and Tidal while you’re behind the wheel.
Apple Music highlights
In light of your newfound knowledge of the differences between Apple Music and Tidal, let’s look at some of the highlights of each streaming service. To begin, we will run down all of the incredible perks of having an Apple Music subscription for you.
Apple Music’s strength is in its expertly curated playlists. Apple Music will make recommendations of artists, albums, and playlists specific to your listening habits and musical preferences under the “For You” tab. It is where all the fun and excitement take place. And it’s uncannily accurate in every way.
The exceptional music selection is also optimized for use with Apple’s HomePod and HomePod Mini smart speakers, which are integrated exclusively with Apple Music. Ask Siri on your HomePod to play some music, and she’ll always choose something you’ll either recognize or enjoy.
Apple Music’s recommendation system holds its own, but the service’s extra touches give the impression that it was created just for you. The app has many features that simplify the process of locating songs of particular interest to the user.
This package includes Beats 1, a radio station that encourages users to create unique playlists by broadcasting concerts and other music genres. Aside from that, it is an excellent location to amuse oneself, thanks to the abundance of superb music provided by amazing DJs.
Users can also import or match their music file with the hand-made curation playlist and the Beats 1 live radio station. Apple encourages users to fill in the gaps in the Apple Music catalog by uploading songs and albums from their collections using a new feature called the iCloud Music Library.
Last but not least, the integration between Apple Music and the rest of Apple’s ecosystem is seamless since it works with every Apple product currently on the market, including iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Macs, Apple watches, and HomePods. Additionally, it is compatible with non-Apple devices such as Android, devices branded by Sonos, and echo products sold under the Amazon brand.
Here are some of the highlights of Tidal music in this section so that you can avail the most of your subscription to this app and enjoy better quality music streaming.
Given the list of artists, it makes sense that in Tidal’s early days, the service would have been heavier on pop and hip hop tracks. The service has since greatly expanded its library to include more genres, including pop, r&b, hip hop, and even Latin artists. Currently, Tidal’s library contains over 90 million songs, 450 thousand videos, and even more content than that.
A few tracks include exclusive material in the app from the artist. Look a little further down the Videos page. You’ll find an area titled “Album Experiences,” which contains supplementary mini-videos with albums and feature interviews with the artists discussing the creative process behind individual tracks or the album. With Tidal’s emphasis on supporting the creative community, this is a great way to learn about the inspirations behind a song and the artist’s message.
Tidal is compatible with both Apple and Microsoft devices through dedicated apps. It does an excellent job of remaking the mobile interface for desktop use, and it is more streamlined and straightforward to use than iTunes, which appears bulkier in comparison.
The streaming service also provides a user-friendly web player that allows users to access the service through any web browser. Plus, it is helpful if you want to use the platform on a computer that does not have the Tidal app installed, such as the computer at your place of business.
Lastly, Tidal is on top with paying back artists and musicians. Among all the competition in the industry, Tidal has been excellent in offering artist royalties. This shows how much they value and support the music community.
Which one should you choose?
It isn’t easy to choose between the two streaming apps because both provide useful features and a great experience listening to music. Conversely, if you’re an audiophile expert, you can pick whatever will be best for you.
Still, we’ve mapped out a few key differences between Apple Music and Tidal and arrived at a more precise conclusion to help you pick the best streaming app you like.
Tidal’s existence is sophisticated and one-of-a-kind; for instance, it features music that isn’t found on other music streaming services, such as pop music and Alternative rock. Even more tracks or new releases produced in high quality haven’t been heard before.
Second, it is incredible how well Tidal searches for more music and has a gorgeous user interface. Both of these aspects are very impressive. Above all, the excellent sound quality is remarkable because you can hear the distinction.
Tidal is your best bet if you’re a music fanatic who wants a better, more enchanting experience. The streaming app comes out on top thanks to its extensive catalog, high audio quality, and the fact that it does not integrate podcasts into the same app as music.
Contrastingly, Apple Music offers a superior playlists library and downloads and access to live radio stations broadcast by Apple Music. Although both streaming apps provide the same collection of songs and core features, Apple Music could be the better option if you’re not set on any particular genre or artist, especially if you’re listening to music on an iPhone and HomePod.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your preference when choosing a better streaming service. Whatever you’re looking for in an everyday listening experience—lossless audio or an extensive music library—always go with what works best for you.
Care to check out more comparison reviews with Tidal? We highly recommend reading our Spotify vs Tidal.