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Tidal vs Spotify; A Comprehensive Breakdown.

tidal vs spotify

Comparison Chart: Tidal vs Spotify

Summary

We tried to look at this comparison as subjective as possible. Music lovers, audiophiles, podcast lovers, specific genre lovers, and movie lovers. We also consider a few extras like the future of both platforms and the impact the blockchain might have on both Tidal and Spotify.   Here are some of the main categories we looked at • Price • Quality • Who pays the artists more? • Technology •The Future.  

Here is a look at Tidal vs Spotify. Read about more in our Spotify Alternatives article

Overall Price

Price is easy. Tidal and Spotify are offered at $9.99/month. You can try both for free.   Extra Options: Tidal offers Hi-Fi Plus which can stream 10x better sound quality vs. Spotify for $19.99/month. While it costs a bit more, you can try it for free here.  

Free Trial

Tidal has an awesome free Trial where you can test out 100% of the features. Try it out here.

Family Pricing

The Tidal Family Plan is less-expensive than Spotify for those needing multiple memberships.  

Student Pricing

Tidal offers a student plan for college and high school students for only 4.99 as well.

Quality

Tidal uses Hi-Fi audio which streams up to 1411 kbps while Spotify only streams in 320kbps. What does sound quality matter? While this might matter to some, it might not matter to others. There really is no way to explain the difference other than hearing it for yourself. You can try Tidal for free here.

Regardless of what you might hear, the music on tidal technically sounds better.

Tidal Vs Spotify Reddit Discussion

Who Pays The Artist More?

Tidal is doing many things to ensure artists are getting the most they can for musicians.   The main difference between Tidal and Spotify is the number of artist royalties paid to them. Spotify pays 70% of its revenue to record artists. Tidal pays 100%.  

Tidal also makes it easy for listeners to give back by making it possible for them to do so through PayPal, Venmo, and Square. What makes it even more interesting is Square recently became an 80% owner of Tidal. What seemed like an odd acquisition at the time is now starting to show incredible potential. Square will be able to help Tidal facilitate more revenue from fans by selling merchandise, NFTs, concert tickets (both VR and real-world) music licensing, and more.

They’ve also figured out a way to pay artists more per stream. This was sent to CDBaby artists on Nov/21:  

” Starting today, CD Baby artists get advanced-beta access to TIDAL’s new Direct Artists Payouts Program.

What does this mean? If you’re the top-streamed artist for a particular TIDAL HiFi Plus subscriber in any given month, you’ll get paid up to 10% of that listener’s monthly subscription fee — in addition to your usual streaming revenue.

In other words, TIDAL rewards you for superfans who are streaming your music more than any other artist. So you benefit from building a loyal following. We’re really excited to be a launch partner with TIDAL as they introduce more equitable features to the traditional streaming payment model.

Once you’ve earned at least $50 through this new program, it will be paid to you through your CD Baby account. Artists keep 100% of the money earned through this program.”

Bottom-line: Artists get paid better (about 60%) on Tidal than any other major streaming service.  

tidal vs spotify reddit

Technology

We know that Tidal and Spotify’s algorithms are different. Based on what we’ve read, Tidal is more likely to recommend something that takes you in a new direction within a Genre; whereas, Spotify is recommending more music based on your tastes overall.  

Users on Reddit have stated why they think Tidal is better for this reason.  

Tidal For DJ’s

Tidal is making major strides in its third-party integrations by allowing apps like Serato, Pioneer, Denon, and more to integrate with Tidal via their Tidal for DJ’s service.

Spotify ended its third-party integrations for DJ apps in July of 2020.

The Future

When Tidal was first released there was a sense of doubt among the public. The streaming space was very crowded, and still. is. Many people did not know what to expect. The company made a boisterous public debut with a ton of famous musicians. Tidal announced that artists like Deadmau5 and Nikki Minaj owned (it was kind of unclear) It also didn’t feel very long-term. People don’t associate pop stars with forever.

Yet, I think that has changed now. I think people see these guys as owning a piece of the music streaming market for life. The way they have structured things, with the way they have developed the artists over time is really smart. What they are building is going to last for generations.

The other thing I like about this is they are diversifying. They are not just relying on DJs and pop stars. They are relying on sports stars, business leaders, politicians, and all sorts of people to pump up content.   The only thing that is going to be a risk for both Spotify and Tidal will be the blockchain music system. Each of them will have to figure out how to adapt to it fast.

Video Breakdown

We like this Youtuber overview of Tidal vs Spotify.

What do you think?

Written by Dan

Dan is a long-time audio reviewer and audiophile. He also maintains the role of Deputy Editor at Centsr.com and oversees operations and editorial initiatives. Dan has worked in digital media for the past decade and specializes in creating supportive content for consumers.

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