Tidal vs Spotify: 2023 Review

November 19, 2020

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 interesting solutions for audio lovers. Over the years, the range of music apps 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 406 million active users and 180 million paying subscribers. With these numbers, this company can call itself the world's most popular music service. With a premium subscription of $9.99 per month, you can listen to almost 80 million songs ad-free.



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 bigger than Spotify’s, with over 90 million songs. 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).



With a collection of 90 million songs, TIDAL's offer is slightly larger than 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.

In terms of musical genres, TIDAL is clearly oriented towards American Rap and Hip-Hop. Spotify, on the other hand, seems to have a catalog with more varied distribution of genres. Virtually all music genres can be found effortlessly. Even artists like Pink Floyd, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, or Taylor Swift, who previously refused to cooperate with Spotify, are now available. A significant advantage of Spotify over Tidal is a wide selection of podcasts. The app offers over one million of them!


Premium members 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, TIDAL is the only service that offers lossless streams in CD quality (Flac format) for all devices. The HiFi subscription is split into two options - Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus.

The Tidal HiFi costs $9.99 per month and offers lossless quality and high-resolution tracks. The sound quality is a maximum of 1,411 kbps, and users have access to additional offline features such as Tidal Connect and My Activity.

The second, more expensive Tidal HiFi Plus costs $19.99 per month. It 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 quality of 24-bit / 96kHz. MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology offers a 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, music lovers can enjoy an authentic audio experience!

The Master feature on Tidal is honestly an amazing thing. You're listening to a song exactly as the artist intended. But to truly enjoy it, you need have a good pair of headphones or earphones. TIDAL HiFI Plus is also considerably more expensive as it is priced at $19.99/mo. So you need to make a decision based on the money you are willing to spend.

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

If you're looking for a stunning sound but at high price: TIDAL.


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 Spotify songs for offline listening. This feature makes it possible to listen to music when you have no Internet connection.

Spotify Premium costs $9.99. However, Spotify offers a family subscription for up to six people at $15.99 per month. Students can turn on a premium subscription for just $4.99 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 to use the service for free, agreeing for advertisements and sponsored materials, similar to the Spotify free plan. Tidal Free plan offers an entire catalog of over 80 million songs with limited playback interruptions. So far, Tidal Free is available in the United States only - the company hasn’t informed whether this plan will be available in other countries over time.

HiFi Plan

The HiFi subscription is available in two options - Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus.

The Tidal HiFi costs $9.99, and Tidal HiFi Plus costs $19.99 per month.


In addition to standard subscriptions, the streaming service also has 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 normal price.

New way to support artists

From now on, Tidal payments go from subscribers directly to the artists. Every month a part of the fees (even 10%) from your HiFi Plus subscriptions will be directed to the artist you listen to the most.

But that’s not all! From 2022, listeners play a greater role in the success of their favorite and most-listened artists (fan-created royalties). The new model of paying royalties is based on the numbers of actual plays, and not on aggregation of streams. However, the new royalty rules apply to the HiFi Plus plan only - the rest remains unchanged. And how much does Spotify pay per stream?


Because Spotify is the most popular streaming service, you can use it on many devices. There's a dedicated app for smartphones and a special 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 offer a great user experience when it comes to their products.

Spotify devices.JPG

Even though TIDAL has only about 850,000 subscribers, the service is fairly well developed. There are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. TIDAL is also available in the browser. At the moment, TIDAL is not yet available for smart TVs.

TIDAL doesn't offer an integration with existing audio systems. It requires going through Bluetooth or Airplay. Spotify, on the other hand, offers easy integration via Spotify Connect. This service can be used on various audio devices, and it allows you to play whole playlists directly through the amplifier or portable speaker.


If you want to discover new songs, both Tidal and Spotify offer various search features. For example, you can divide music by genres (rock, pop, country) or search new tracks regarding your moods or activities (relax, workout, party). Spotify wins here as it offers more playlists to choose from. What’s more, Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” is a great way of discovering new music based on your listening habits. Their algorithm works amazing and there’s no music streaming service that can match it!

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... So, unless you're really into this genre, you will be disappointed with TIDAL's algorithm and song recommendations. Solution? Pick Spotify for awesome music recommendations and personalized playlists, which you then export into Tidal Hifi with FreeYourMusic.


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:

FoundedOctober 2014, UK, US, and CanadaOctober 2006, Stockholm
Premium planTidal Premium $9.99 / Tidal HiFi $19.99 per monthSpotify Premium $9.99 per month
Price of family planPremium $14.99 / HiFi $29.99 for 6 family members$15.99 for 6 family members
Price of student planPremium $4.99 / HiFi $9.99 per month$4.99 per month
Free planYesNo
Number of usersNot availableOver 345 million subscribers
Music libraryOver 90 millionAround 82 million
Sound quality320 kbit/s in AAC for Tidal Premium / variable in FLAC, ALAC, MQA for Tidal HiFI320 Kbps in Ogg for Premium / 192 Kbps in Ogg for Free
Mobile appYes, iOS and AndroidYes, iOS and Android
Desktop app (PC)Yes, for Windows and MacYes, for Windows and Mac


Luckily, you can move your music library and playlists with FreeYourMusic app. Transfer your favorite songs from Spotify to Tidal or from Tidal to Spotify quickly and easily. Over 2M+ music lovers have already transferred their playlists with FreeYourMusic!

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