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Tidal vs YouTube Music; Who Won?

A deep look at Tidal vs Youtube Music, Which is Better?

There are so many streaming platforms available now, it can be daunting to pick one. Determining which one gives the best bang for your buck is something that we all strive to do. Two recent additions to the streaming world are YouTube Music and Tidal.

Both these platforms offer excellent services. However, they vary slightly in what they offer. So, let’s compare them and decide which one will be best for you.

Sound Quality

In terms of sound quality between Tidal vs Youtube Music, Tidal wins. The focus on audio quality is what makes Tidal stand out in the crowd of streaming platforms. With a premium Tidal subscription, you get the option of streaming music with lossless high-fidelity sound. This means that the audio plays at a bit rate of 1411kps.

YouTube Music quality depends on what bitrate you choose, but the platform offers a max bitrate of 256kps. This tells you that the sound quality of the songs on Tidal is far superior. However, only audiophiles with high-quality audio setups will be able to hear the difference. With entry-level headphones, the audio is going to sound indistinguishable.

tidal vs youtube music sound quality
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Features and Content

The biggest benefit of YouTube Music is its strong suggestion algorithm and the content it’s able to provide. You get the entire library of music from YouTube, including studio albums, live performances, remixes, and song covers. The app helps you discover new music incredibly easily.

The layout of the platform is very simple, only having three tabs to navigate through. These include a home tab, library tab, and explore tab.

Tidal has the same features. However, it initially put more focus on pop, hip-hop, and R&B music when it first came out. Since then, the ‘discover music’ option has expanded quite significantly. That being said, it’s possible that Youtube music has more content. 

Overall, the features of the two platforms are mostly the same. Tidal just has the option of listening to high-fidelity sounds, which moves us onto the next section.

Related article: Best Music Streaming Service 2022

tidal vs youtube music features
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Cost

Tidal vs Youtube Music for pricing, it’s a tie. You can stream music on YouTube Music for free, but you’ll be interrupted by ads every now and then. Tidal, on the other hand, doesn’t have a completely free option. Instead, it has a 30-day trial, and you can’t stream music anymore after the trial if you haven’t paid.

Both YouTube Music and Tidal have starting prices of $9.99 per month. Tidal’s family plan is a bit cheaper, costing $14.99 while YouTube Music’s family plan costs $17.99.

If you pay $19.99 per month for Tidal’s HiFi Plus plan, you get to listen to higher-quality audio. YouTube Music doesn’t have a higher-quality audio option, but you can also consider paying $11.99 for YouTube Premium. This gives you access to all the other videos and exclusive content on YouTube on top of all the music, arguably giving you higher value for money.

tidal vs youtube music cost
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Artist Royalties

Tidal has a strong reputation for being one of the most artist-orientated streaming platforms available. Tidal pays music artists on the platform more than YouTube Music does. The platform was designed with artists in mind. Over the years it’s been available, the creators of Tidal have tried to fix everything bad about other streaming services, with artist payout numbers being one of the biggest things.

Tidal vs YouTube Music
Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Verdict on the Tidal Vs Youtube Music Battle

So who wins the Tidal vs Youtube Music face-off? Both platforms are top-quality options. While one isn’t clearly better than the other, there are benefits of both. If you love high-quality audio, have a professional audio setup, and want to support the artists you listen to as much as possible, Tidal is the better platform to go with. 

YouTube Music has a better song discovery system. You’ll find more new music to listen to because of it. Also, you’ll get more bang-for-your-buck if you go with a YouTube Premium account. 

See our article on Tidal vs Spotify

What do you think?

Written by Mason Quesnel

Mason Quesnel is a music industry veteran who's performed on major festival stages and corporate events across 10 countries. His accolades include winning Yamaha's National Songwriting Competition and Key's To The Juno's. He was also recognized as Top Bands to Watch for by The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto Ontario; furthermore, reviewed by media outlets such as Alan Cross, CBC, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, The LCBO and has had his music appear in TED Talks.

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