As a fan of different music genres and theories, it’s always a treat to come across a really nice streaming service that answers my needs, music selection and overall design considered. When I first heard of Tidal years back, I didn’t really consider it an option.
First, it’s not available in the Philippines, second, I wasn’t a fan of Jay-Z (who owns the company), and third, I had heard reports about it being expensive as hell. More than Apple Music & Spotify combined, in fact.
Converted to Philippine Peso, the base monthly plan starts at P522 and gets up to P1,044 for the HiFi subscription. (That would already pay for a Family Plan on any of the other streaming platforms!) Being the sucker that I am for new things, I caved and got the HiFi plan (‘cause why not?).
What I Love
Using Tidal is super easy. The user interface is simple, direct, and beautiful. While I had always disliked Spotify’s dark colors, Tidal gets away with it by balancing the dark with colorful album covers. (This must be why Spotify had recently started adapting and learning from them.)
The iPhone app is also very beautiful, with no distractions at all when you pull out a track into full-screen mode. Very sleek. I also love that it took me less than 5 minutes to set things up just the way I wanted. From “collecting” albums to creating playlists, the experience was smooth.
Their claim to provide lossless audio for HiFi accounts was accurate. There was a period where, to test the quality across the three platforms (Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music), I’d play the same song on the fullest, highest settings available on all of them. To give the two a fair chance, I temporarily set Tidal to play at Standard quality. Tidal came out a tad bit better. More bass and a fuller sound.
Just like the other platforms, you can save songs for offline listening via the app and all the nice features you expect to come with the service. Unlike Spotify, they have videos that you can save to collections - kind of like a personal video playlist. They also house music-themed podcasts, which i also like.
What Could be Better
So, Tidal is great. I never said it was perfect, however. For one, the desktop version of the app doesn’t allow downloads for offline listening. I’ve tried exploring the interface but I haven’t found a way to do that. While that disappointed me, it wasn’t a deal breaker.
Secondly, I was hoping that their podcast directory wouldn’t be music-based only. One of the things I love about Spotify and Apple Music is that there’s a huge selection of podcasts ranging from music, to self-improvement, to language learning, and more.
Thirdly, their global music selection is incomplete. Similar to Spotify, not all K-Pop or J-Pop tracks are listed. Apple Music has an advantage here, but also, the platform isn’t complete in itself.
Lastly, I hate the fact that it’s so damn expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, a single user on Tidal could be paying for a whole family subscription on any of the two platforms. (I’ve found a trick though: pay annually so I don’t feel the money slipping away every month.)
Considering all these pro’s and con’s, I’d still recommend Tidal. It has more of what I love than hate, I love how it looks, I love its simple interface, and I’d be willing to give it more money on my next annual bill.
Have you ever tried Tidal or thinking of getting a trial subscription? Sound-off in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Bye!