Tidal vs Spotify: 2024 Review

April 30, 2024

When you think of a music streaming service, you may immediately think of Spotify, but there are more options out there! The app stores are filled to the brim with cool music apps for audio lovers. Over the years, the range of music streaming platforms has increased significantly, and now you can choose from services such as Apple Music, Napster, and TIDAL.

In this article, we'll focus on the TIDAL vs Spotify comparison. Which one has the best audio quality? How many songs are there on TIDAL? Read this article to find out!

  1. What is Spotify
  2. What is Tidal
  3. Offer and music catalogue
  4. Sound quality
  5. Subscription plans
  6. Devices
  7. Music discovery
  8. Summary (in a table)


Spotify was launched in 2008, and so far, it has attracted about 551 million active users and 220 million paying subscribers. With these numbers, this company can call itself the world's most popular music service. With a premium subscription of $10.99 per month, you can listen to almost 100 million songs ad-free. This is your to-go music streaming service if you're looking for an app with music discovery features and social features.



TIDAL entered the market 6 years later than Spotify but with a lot of fanfare. The streaming service, currently owned by Jay-Z, is taking on rivals like Spotify and Apple Music. The special thing about Tidal is that it was developed with the collaboration of great artists such as Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, and Madonna. TIDAL claims its music catalog is similar to Spotify's, with over 100 million songs. TIDAL is best known for its lossless audio quality. It also boast itself as a more generous music platform - it claims it pays artists way more ($0.012 per stream) than Spotify ($0.004).


Is Tidal more popular than Spotify?
Spotify is widely regarded as the most popular and widely used music streaming service globally. It has a significantly larger user base and market share compared to TIDAL. Spotify's extensive library, user-friendly interface, and availability across various devices contributed to its widespread popularity.

TIDAL, on the other hand, while known for its focus on high-fidelity audio and artist-friendly approach, has a smaller user base compared to Spotify. TIDAL differentiated itself by offering exclusive content, higher-quality audio, and emphasizing artist compensation, but it hadn't reached the same level of mainstream adoption as Spotify.



At the forefront of the music streaming services industry, Spotify has garnered widespread acclaim for offering users open access to its huge music catalog. Spotify boasts an expansive music library that spans virtually every genre, language, and era. With millions of tracks available at users' fingertips, the platform provides a comprehensive range of music, from chart-topping hits to hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

While TIDAL is clearly oriented toward American Rap and Hip-Hop, Spotify seems to have a catalog with more varied distribution of genres. Even artists like Pink Floyd, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, and Taylor Swift, who previously refused to cooperate with Spotify, are now available. In case you're not aware, Spotify has frequently found itself entangled in disputes with musicians regarding royalties and political matters throughout the years. Nevertheless, it appears that artists consistently gravitate back to Spotify. Being absent from the platform translates to forfeiting access to the largest user base, a trade-off that numerous musicians are hesitant to make.

One of Spotify's standout features is its wide array of curated playlists. From mood-specific playlists to genre-based collections, these playlists offer a convenient way to explore new music that aligns with specific moods, occasions, or interests. Spotify's algorithm-driven recommendation system serves as a virtual DJ, creating playlists tailored to users' individual tastes. "Discover Weekly" and "Release Radar" playlists deliver a mix of familiar favorites and new tracks every week, keeping the musical journey fresh and exciting.

A significant advantage of Spotify over Tidal is its wide selection of podcasts. The app offers over one million of them! Spotify has made a significant push into the podcasting space, with a strong focus on securing exclusive content. The platform has acquired exclusive rights to popular podcasts and signed deals with high-profile creators, ranging from musicians to celebrities. Notable deals include securing "The Joe Rogan Experience," one of the most popular podcasts globally, and collaborations with artists like Michelle Obama and Prince Harry. Spotify aims to create a comprehensive audio hub, seamlessly integrating music and exclusive podcasts to keep users engaged.

Spotify also lets you play local files on your device, which its competitor does not.


TIDAL, while smaller in terms of subscriber base compared to Spotify, places emphasis on quality over quantity. It's known for its commitment to high-fidelity audio, making it a go-to platform for audiophiles. TIDAL's library includes standard-quality tracks as well as the "Master" quality format, which preserves studio-quality sound. Additionally, TIDAL offers exclusive content like live performances, behind-the-scenes videos, and exclusive releases that appeal to music enthusiasts seeking unique experiences.

With a collection of 100 million songs, TIDAL's offer is at par with Spotify's. The music service is filled with a multitude of diverse artists. There are also music videos available. Besides, some music videos can be seen exclusively on TIDAL, such as Beyoncé's visual album Lemonade and some miniseries from artists such as Damian Marley and Fat Joe.

TIDAL, while more focused on music, has also ventured into exclusive podcast territory. TIDAL's approach includes podcasts that align with its artist-centric ethos. The platform has offered exclusive podcast episodes from artists, allowing them to share insights, inspirations, and behind-the-scenes stories. By combining music and podcast content, TIDAL aims to create a holistic space where users can engage with both their favorite artists' music and their thoughts.


Spotify Free Tier

With Free Spotify, the maximum bitrate you can stream is 128kbps on the web player and 160kbps on the mobile and desktop apps.

Spotify Premium

Premium Spotify users can listen to music via Spotify with a maximum bitrate of 320kbps. This is fine for the average user, but the compression will be audible for owners of high-end speakers or headphones.


At the moment, the TIDAL app is the only service that offers lossless music streams in CD quality (Flac format) for all devices. The Individual subscription is $10.99 (with DJ add-ons available).

The Tidal HiFi offers lossless files and high-resolution tracks. The sound quality is a maximum of 1,411 kbps, and users can access music through additional offline features such as Tidal Connect and My Activity.

The second, more expensive Tidal HiFi Plus, provides access to "best-in-class immersive audio formats" including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Audio. As part of this subscription, Tidal Premium content will also be available, as well as Master Quality Authenticated materials with a quality of up to 9216 kb/s. Also, Tidal HiFi Plus users are guaranteed early access to all upcoming exclusive offers and features.


The desktop version of Tidal HiFi Plus features the category 'Masters', which contains a collection of more than 30,000 songs with an audio quality of 24-bit / 96kHz. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology offers limitless digital music compression, thanks to which Tidal guarantees authentic sound quality. The music sounds exactly as it was recorded in the studio. With Tidal Masters, music lovers can enjoy an authentic audio experience!

The Master feature on Tidal is honestly a fantastic thing. You're listening to a song exactly as the artist intended. But keep in mind that not all songs are available in this quality.

Given Tidal's high-quality audio, it's no surprise that the app is a monster data consumer. When streaming music on TIDAL at higher audio quality settings, such as HiFi or Master quality, the audio files are larger due to the preservation of high-fidelity details, richer soundscapes, and greater dynamic range. These larger audio files demand more data to be transmitted and received effectively. In essence, each song that is streamed at these higher quality settings requires a more substantial amount of data to deliver the enhanced audio experience.

This aspect is crucial for users to consider, especially if they have limited data plans or are in situations where high data usage may be a concern, such as when using mobile data networks or in regions with bandwidth limitations. If you intend to use lower-quality formats to reduce data usage then Spotify may be better the better option.

To sum up:

If you want good-sounding music at a fair price or even free: Spotify.

If you're looking for a stunning sound: TIDAL.


Spotify Free Tier

Spotify Premium users can enjoy their favorite songs without annoying advertisements. Ads in the free version are louder than the music, making it downright distracting. Spotify Premium also comes with the option to download music for offline listening. This feature makes it possible to play music offline when you have no Internet connection.

Spotify Premium

Spotify Premium costs $10.99. However, Spotify offers a family subscription for up to six accounts at $16.99 per month. Students can turn on a premium subscription for just $5.99 per month.


TIDAL provides both free, as well paid subscriptions.

Tidal Free

The streaming quality of a Tidal Free is set at 160 kb/s - that's quite a modest value compared to Tidal's paid options. However, users can use the service for free, agreeing to advertisements and sponsored materials, similar to the Spotify free plan. So far, Tidal Free is available in the United States only - the company hasn't informed us whether this plan will be available in other countries over time.

HiFi Plan

Tidal HiFi costs $10.99.


In addition to standard subscriptions, TIDAL offers some special packages. For example, students can get a 50% discount on a subscription. There is also a family package (up to a maximum of 6 users), which costs 50% of the regular price.

How much do Spotify and TIDAL pay musical artists?

TIDAL is known for offering higher royalty rates to artists compared to some other streaming platforms, including Spotify. TIDAL emphasizes its commitment to artist compensation and fair payouts as part of its marketing strategy. The platform aims to provide a more equitable revenue distribution model, particularly for independent artists and smaller labels.

In 2021, they tried something bold: diverting 10% of HiFi Plus subscribers' fees directly to the most-streamed artist. This user-centric experiment, though admirable, didn't quite hit the mark and was canceled a year later.

Now, TIDAL has turned its attention to emerging talent with the TIDAL RISING initiative. Instead of a spotlight on individual artists, this move supports a wider range of up-and-comers. TIDAL Rising offers up-and-coming artists promotional opportunities like featured playlists, editorial content, and exclusive releases to help boost their visibility and careers within the music industry.

It's important to note that the music streaming industry is complex and constantly evolving. Payment structures, licensing agreements, and artist compensation models can change over time due to negotiations, legal developments, and market dynamics.


Because Spotify is the most popular streaming service, you can use it on many devices. There's a dedicated app for smartphones and a version for desktops and laptops, but you can also listen to your favorite music in the browser. Via Spotify Connect, you can link the app with many smart TVs, network receivers, and multiroom speakers. Spotify offers a great user experience when it comes to its products.

Spotify devices.JPG

Even though TIDAL has fewer subscribers than Spotify, the service is fairly well-developed. There are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. TIDAL is also available in the browser. However, Tidal isn't just for your phone or computer. It's compatible with many other devices too. If you have a home audio setup, smart TV, or car audio system, you can still enjoy your Tidal playlists.

One exciting feature Tidal offers is called Tidal Connect. This feature makes it super easy to play your music on different devices. Let's say you start playing a song on your Tidal app. With Tidal Connect, you can easily switch the music to another device that's compatible. This could be a smart TV or a set of powerful speakers. All you need to do is tap a button, and your music moves seamlessly to the new device.


Selecting between Spotify and TIDAL for music discovery depends on your preferences. Spotify excels in leveraging data-driven algorithms to provide highly accurate and individualized recommendations, making it great for discovering tracks similar to your existing tastes. On the other hand, TIDAL shines in spotlighting up-and-coming artists and offering exclusive content, making it appealing for those seeking a deeper connection with musicians and a more artist-centric approach to music discovery.

Spotify's Music Discovery:

Spotify is renowned for its sophisticated music recommendation algorithms that analyze your listening history and listening habits to curate personalized suggestions. Its "Discover Weekly" and "Release Radar" personalized playlists deliver fresh music tailored to your tastes every week. The "Daily Mixes" offer genre-based mixes that blend familiar favorites with new discoveries. Their algorithm works amazing and there's no music streaming service that can match it!

Spotify's Advantages:

  • Highly personalized recommendations based on extensive listening data.

  • "Made For You" playlists like "Discover Weekly" and "Release Radar."

  • "Spotify Blend" which combines your music interests with that of your friends to create a shared playlist.

  • Extensive use of machine learning for accurate suggestions.

  • Collaborative playlists that you can co-create with your friends.

  • AI DJ - a new music discovery feature that uses the power of AI to mix songs for you.

  • Radio feature that makes it easy to discover music similar to what you're already listening to.

TIDAL's Music Discovery:

TIDAL emphasizes artist discovery and original content. Its "TIDAL Rising" program spotlights emerging artists, providing exposure to talents on the brink of success. Exclusive content like live performances and interviews offer a deeper look into artists' creative processes. TIDAL's "Recommended for You" playlists suggest tracks aligned with your preferences. However, some users report that since TIDAL is very much oriented towards American Rap and Hip Hop, you will be getting a lot of suggestions to listen to Kanye West...

TIDAL's Advantages:

  • Artist-centric focus with the "TIDAL Rising" program.

  • Exclusive content and behind-the-scenes material.

  • A diverse range of editorial playlists catering to various moods and genres.

  • Integration of editorial content and music suggestions for a comprehensive experience.


As you can see, both Tidal and Spotify have their advantages and drawbacks. Would you prefer Spotify because of its free version, great music discovery algorithm and wide playlist selection? Or maybe you consider TIDAL better than Spotify because of its exclusive video catalogue and HiFi subscription? The real music fan may prefer to enjoy the hi-res quality of TIDAL. The choice is yours!

Let’s gather everything we covered in a table:

Founded October 2014, UK, US, and Canada October 2006, Stockholm
Premium plan Tidal HiF $10.99 per month Spotify Premium $10.99 per month
Price of family plan Premium $16.99 for 6 family members $16.99 for 6 family members
Price of student plan $4.99 per month $5.99 per month
Free plan Yes Yes
Number of users Not available Over 551 million users
Music library Over 100 million Around 100 million
Sound quality 320 kbit/s in AAC & variable in FLAC, ALAC, MQA 320 Kbps in Ogg for Premium / 192 Kbps in Ogg for Free
Podcasts Yes Yes
Mobile app Yes, iOS and Android Yes, iOS and Android
Desktop app (PC) Yes, for Windows and Mac Yes, for Windows and Mac


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