The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – Tidal Music Streaming Service
So recently, Jay-Z and friends (Kanye, Rhianna, Daft Punk to name a few) started a Spotify-esque music streaming service named “Tidal” (probably because of the waves of money invested in this project). Tidal’s main goal is a way to get music artist payed, probably sparked by Taylor Swift denouncing Spotify for it’s pennies per stream policy that it pays artist. Will tidal crash it’s competition or be washed away in the tide? Let’s explore the good, the bad and the ugly.
Tidal offers high fidelity, loss-less audio. For non-audiophiles, lossless audio is the equivalent to 5k resolution in the TV world. If you listen to an mp3 your are listening to a compressed version of the original song giving you the equivalent of 1080p or 720p quality sound. This compression is mostly needed to reduce the size of the file, especially for the advent of mp3 players when 512MB mp3 players or less were the norm.
Tidal has no free option. You can pay $9.99 for the same quality audio as Spotify or pay $19.99 for the loss-less audio mentioned above. I think this will hurt early adoption of this platform.
Not to mention, the loss-less audio itself has a couple major flaws.
1) Most people won’t be able to hear the quality difference.
Most people won’t be able to hear the difference in quality either because of physical or equipment limitations. Most people’s ears aren’t trained to hear the minute details of loss-less and most speakers or headphones that an average consumer gets isn’t designed for loss-less but for the mp3 standard that dominates the market.
2) Data usage
Since loss-less is uncompressed it takes up WAY more space. In my experience loss-less Wav files are usually 10 times bigger than mp3 files. Meaning a normal 100MB album could end up being 1GB if streamed lossless via Tidal. So, if Tidal creates a mobile version I doubt it would be able to play in loss-less or else users will get mad and wonder how they used up 2GB of mobile data in one sitting.
3) Reduced Library of Music
Since Tidal is just starting out it will have a smaller library of music than Spotify although I’ve heard that, regardless of this fact it had a massive launch library that should have all of the more popular jams.
As for Tidal’s main goal, compensating artists fairly, I’ve heard very little on this. Most, I hear about is the loss-less audio. I’ve heard rumors that the pay structure is similar to Spotifiy’s pennies per play but I haven’t confirmed anything yet. That’s why this is the ugliest thing about Tidal. If it was created to give artist control shouldn’t they be advocating the benefits of the service to the artist as well.
Tidal, as it’s been portrayed currently, is going to fail. No free trials, hi-fi audio that average people can’t use.and obscure benefits for artist that aren’t Jay-Z et al. Tidal has no competitive edge.