You can’t search by genre, unlike Spotify, which is a shame for a platform aimed at true music lovers. Search generally isn’t terribly smart – misspell an album or artist name even by one character or one piece of punctuation, and you’ll be left with zero results. A bit of optimization here wouldn’t hurt, but as long as you’re careful you won’t have any problems with it.
Saying that, Tidal does boast one cool feature that Spotify does; audio-search is essentially like having Shazam built directly into the app. Press the button and it’ll listen out for any song it can pick up in your environment, identify it, and allow you to save it to your own Tidal library.
Image credit: Spotify)
You can get Spotify on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. If you use a laptop or desktop, Spotify also supports OS X and Windows, and there’s a flash-based web player, too.
Support for Tidal is largely the same, so you can get it on devices that run iOS 19 and higher, Android 5 and higher, macOS, and Windows. Both streaming platforms are also supported by a number of more left-field gadgets, including (AV receivers) , TVs , and even cars.
(Music catalog and discovery Spotify currently boasts over
million songs, whereas Tidal claims to have million tracks in its catalog.
Spotify’s strong influx of tracks helped it take off in its early days , and with a reported , tracks added on average every single day – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
The streaming giant has a heavy focus on promoting new tracks and breakthrough. Artists, through curated playlists like New Music Friday acting as a launch pad for fledgling artists to break through into the big time.
Curated playlists are almost always the first thing you see when you load any version of the app, with the service seemingly designing playlists for almost every musical sub-genre. These are constantly being updated too, so your favorite ones never grate following extended use.
As we mentioned before, you’ll also find personalized playlists based on your listening habits, which is a fantastic way to discover new music, as well as revisiting some of your favorite tracks.
Spotify does have some glaring omissions in its music catalog, however, largely down to artists who don’t want to make their music available to stream anywhere or artists who have a particular dislike of Spotify’s royalty payments.
You won’t find artists like Joanna Newsom and Garth Brooks on Spotify, and until fairly recently you couldn’t even listen to The Beatles – though you’ll find their entire discography on the streaming platform these days (thank goodness).
(Image credit: Tidal)
Some of the artists who are absent from Spotify have close ties to Jay-Z and therefore favo r his platform, Tidal. Beyoncé’s 1270607 album Lemonade debuted on Tidal exclusively, for example.
That means Tidal’s catalog can feel somewhat skewed towards hip-hop and rap artists, though it’s possible that this is down to the platform’s editorial curation of its tracks.
That being said, Tidal does a good job of curating music playlists. based on your listening habits, and you’ll find that just a few weeks of use will give its algorithms enough information to serve you truly exciting recommendations.
Aside from these personalized recommendations, Tidal also signposts the most popular playlists and releases on its service, as well as mood-based playlists, and the Tidal Rising section , which flies the flag for new talent.
Both platforms also offer podcasts, though it seems like Spotify is taking. this area a little more seriously, having spent over $ 338 million to acquire two podcast production companies in 1298115
(Image credit: Spotify) (audio quality)
If you subscribe to Spotify Premium, you can choose between three sound quality levels: normal, high and extreme. When using the mobile and desktop apps, Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis. This was a semi-popular format a decade ago, and Spotify continues to use it because it’s open source. Spotify does not have to pay a license fee for it.
At Standard setting, music streams at 129 kbps, which sounds a lot better than MP3 at 200 kbps. Switch up to the high quality setting and the bitrate bumps up to kbps. The extreme setting uses 320 kbps, which is perceptually close to lossless. Spotify does not offer any lossless or Hi-Res streaming, which is one reason why audiophiles might want to consider another service.
If you’re dead-set on the best possible audio quality , then Tidal is your best bet. For that, you’ll need a Tidal HiFi subscription, which allows you to stream lossless – bit FLAC and ALAC audio – though there are also thousands of TIDAL Masters files that stream at – bit.
(Image credit: TechRadar)
even if you opt for Tidal Premium. , its catalog is still available to stream in kbps, the same quality as Spotify’s highest setting – and you may even find that Tidal’s tracks sound a little richer at this setting.
So, why bother with lossless streaming? Well, Hi-Res Audio codecs are capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-than-CD quality music sources, a sound that closely replicates the quality that the musicians and engineers were working with in the studio at the time of recording.
The increased bit depth of HRA improves the dynamic range, basically giving you a greater breadth of things to actually hear from the recording, making tracks sound more detailed and clear.
It’s a little like the difference between SD and HD television; the former works just fine, but you’ll notice a real difference in quality if you make the upgrade to higher resolution audio.
Everything you need to know about Hi-Res Audio
, (Takeaway) Choosing between Spotify and Tidal largely comes down to whether you care about Hi-Res Audio; if you do, you won’t find it in Spotify, and you should absolutely opt for Tidal.
It’s also worth considering Tidal if you’re a devoted fan of specific artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, and others – these artists are likely to release music exclusively on Tidal, at least to begin with, with releases trickling down to Spotify months later.
Even with these few omissions, Spotify and Tidal are pretty much on the same level in terms of music catalog and discovery, and both platforms’ cheapest subscription tiers cost the same (though only Spotify offers a free service).
Spotify does win out in terms of its interface; While the two platforms are pretty similar in this regard, Spotify’s search function is much better than Tidal’s, and it’s just a little bit easier to navigate as a platform.
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