The basic requirements of Spotify and Tidal are the same. With both, you can stream music, create playlists, download songs for offline listening, and discover new tracks based on your personal taste. However, there are many large and small differences between the two services.
To help you decide which streaming service has the edge in the battle between Tidal and Spotify, we’ve summarized all the key differences between them. This includes everything from audio quality and pricing to music discovery and social functions. Let’s dive in.
Tidal vs Spotify: music discovery
When it comes to finding new titles to listen to, both streaming services do an excellent job. You can search music by genre (dance, country…), moods and activities (party, relaxation…) and use the radio function to discover songs and artists that are similar to the ones you are in. Both are also good at suggesting brand new titles based on your personal taste.
The two services are similar when it comes to discovering music, but not the same. Spotify has the popular Discover Weekly feature, which is basically a curated playlist that contains the songs of artists and genres you are listening to. You will receive a new one every Monday, which contains 30 titles. The service also creates up to six daily mixes for you based on your listening habits.
Tidal Rising connects you with emerging artists from around the world.
Tidal, on the other hand, there is no weekly playlist. However, up to eight playlists are offered, each of which revolves around a particular genre in which you are. The service also has a feature called Tidal Rising, which shows you the tracks and albums of emerging artists from around the world. Then there is the “Top” function, which gives you access to Billboard’s top songs by genre and a selection of the best tracks, albums, and songs from the past decade.
Here too Spotify and Tidal are doing a great job discovering music. However, I think Spotify does it a little better. The main reason is that there are a lot more playlists for more or less every genre. Although Tidal is very hip-hop-heavy (the service is owned by Jay-Z), it only has 32 hip-hop playlists, while Spotify has 54 of them. Spotify also has a lot more top charts that list the best songs by country.
The Swedish streaming giant wins this round, although the difference between the two is not great. I am a Tidal user and satisfied with the music discovery features available. However, I would like to see a feature similar to Spotify & # 39; s Discover Weekly and other playlists.
Tidal vs Spotify: Content
Tidal has a leg up on Spotify when it comes to the size of the library. It has more than 60 million routes, 10 million more than its biggest competitor. However, quantity is not everything. It’s the quality that counts. Here, in my experience, the two are neck to neck. All of my favorite songs and artists are available on both platforms.
However, Tidal does a better job when it comes to exclusivity. Thanks to Jay-Z’s connections and influence, many famous artists such as Beyonce and Rihanna first released their albums/songs on Tidal before releasing them on competing services months later.
The main difference in content that you need to be aware of is that Spotify is great for podcasts, while Tidal is great for videos. Spotify has over a million podcast titles. Popular or niche, there’s a good chance that the podcasts you’re in are on Spotify. This is great news because you don’t need a separate app for podcasts.
Tidal also offers podcasts, but the choice is small to say the least. There are fewer than 20 of them, and many of them are very hip-hop-centered. You won’t find popular podcasts like This American Life on Tidal.
You will find a number of videos – more than 250,000 of them. Thanks to the “Videos” option on the main navigation tab, they are in the front and in the middle. The selection of content includes music videos, live performances as well as various music-related films and documentaries, many of which are exclusive to the service. You also get access to your own video mixes (up to eight of them) listing the songs / music videos you are in.
Spotify also has videos, but they are not as important as Tidal’s. For example, there is no dedicated area for videos. You may come across videos when searching for an artist or song. I couldn’t figure out exactly how many videos are available on Spotify, which probably means there aren’t too many of them. If there were, Spotify would promote it a lot more.
Tidal vs Spotify: sound quality
Tidal hit Spotify in sound quality. The streaming service offers four audio settings: Normal, High, HiFi and Master. Normal is designed to reduce data usage and is convenient for users on a cellular network with a limited data plan. The “High” setting ensures a balanced relationship between audio quality and data usage by streaming at 320 kbit / s via AAC.
Then there is HiFi and Master, both of which are part of Tidal’s most expensive plan – more on that in the next section. HiFi recordings are lossless FLAC files in CD quality, which means that you benefit from 44.1 kHz / 16-bit audio files.
Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), on the other hand, promises high resolution (96 kHz / 24 bit) audio via FLAC or WAV file. All media marked as MQA under Tidal mean that they have been authenticated directly by the artist. However, please note that not all songs are available in this quality. You also need high-quality headphones to use the HiFi and MQA settings – the cheap earphones that come with your phone are not enough.
Spotify reaches a maximum speed of 320 kbit / s.
Spotify offers five audio settings: Automatic, Low, Normal, High and Premium. The audio quality is approx. 320 kbit / s (premium setting), which corresponds to Tidal’s high mode. Spotify doesn’t offer lossless streaming like Tidal, so it’s not the best choice for audiophiles.
Tidal will undoubtedly win this game, but if you’re not a hardcore audiophile, you’ll be happy with 320kbps streaming on Spotify. It sounds great and you don’t need expensive headphones to take advantage of the quality.
Tidal vs Spotify: plans and pricing
First things first: You can use Spotify for free. Yes, the streaming giant has a free plan that is supported by ads. However, there are many restrictions. You can only play music in random mode and skip tracks up to six times an hour. You also can’t download music to listen offline.
If you take your music seriously, the free plan will not prevent it. You’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan that will refund you $ 9.99 a month, or $ 4.99 if you’re a student. There is also a $ 14.99 family plan that allows up to six accounts. In addition, Spotify offers a premium duo plan for couples, but is currently available in a limited number of markets – the U.S. is not one of them.
Tidal doesn’t have a free plan. To use it you have to pay. The pricing strategy is similar to Spotify’s but is up to a point. A basic subscription costs $ 9.99 a month, while a family plan for six accounts costs $ 14.99 a month. Students also get a discount. A monthly subscription costs $ 4.99 a month. So there are no differences here.
However, Tidal also has a HiFi plan that offers higher quality streaming – see the previous section for details – and costs about twice as much. So the basic subscription costs $ 19.99 a month, a family plan $ 29.99 a month, while students have to pay $ 9.99 a month.
In addition, Tidal is offering a discount to the US military for those who have served or have served, which Spotify does not. A basic subscription costs $ 5.99, while the hi-fi tariff costs $ 11.99 a month.
If you are a soldier or a military woman, Tidal is the best option for you if price is the only factor. Otherwise, the two services cost exactly the same. If you want higher quality audio streaming, you have to choose Tidal, but be willing to pay double.
Tidal vs Spotify: Social Features
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
Spotify is much more social than Tidal. You can check exactly what your friends are listening to. This is a great way to discover new music. You can also share your favorite songs on social networks like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Another great social feature that I like is the ability to see how many monthly listeners a particular artist has. This can be used for comparison purposes to find out which are the most popular with Spotify users. You can also see how many follower playlists there are to decide which ones you want to try.
With Tidal, on the other hand, you can share the song you love on social media. That is more or less all. No other social functions are available. You can’t see what your friends are listening to or how popular certain artists and playlists are. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your preference, but there is definitely something to keep in mind.
Tidal vs Spotify: Other differences
There are a number of other minor differences between the two services – each has some features that you may not find on the other side.
Spotify, for example, has a sleep -Timer that stops playing music after a certain time. This ensures that the music won’t play all night while you sleep. It also has a crossfade function that allows you to make a seamless transition between songs and a seamless mode who tries to eliminate the break after a sun ng ends and a new one begins.
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Spotify also works with Google Maps and Waze – Tidal only supports Waze. This means you can play, pause, or skip tracks while navigating without exiting the app. The last thing to mention is that Spotify can also play local files on your device, which the competitor doesn’t.
On the other hand, Tidal has better credits pages for songs – they show more detailed information. The service also pays artists a lot more than Spotify, though not everyone cares.
Tidal has a better user interface but falls behind Spotify in terms of search features.
Tidal’s UI is probably better. It looks better and is easier to navigate. By default, it has a dark mode, which is particularly noticeable with the contrasting blue accents. Then there is Tidal X, which connects people to their favorite artists through live streaming concerts and other events.
Another difference to be emphasized is the search functions. Spotify is the clear winner here. If you misspell an artist or song name (example: Avvici instead of Avicii), the app is smart enough to know what you’re looking for and shows you the relevant results. Tidal, on the other hand, shows you some independent search results or nothing at all.
And let’s not forget the availability. Spotify is currently available in 79 countries, while Tidal operates in 56 countries.
Tidal vs Spotify: Which One is Right for You?
There is no clear winner here – both Tidal and Spotify are fantastic music streaming services. Which one works best depends on the additional features that bring you more value.
Spotify has a free plan, offers more playlists, is slightly better at music discovery, and is full of social features. You also get access to numerous podcasts and have several great features, including Google Maps integration and crossfading. If all or some of these things matter to you, Spotify is the way to go.
You can’t go wrong with either.
Tidal, on the other hand, gives you access to a wide variety of videos, from live performances to music videos. It also has better sound quality – if you’re willing to pay for it – it offers a military discount and a better user interface. And let’s not forget the great features like Tidal X and Tidal Rising. If you find more value in these features than those offered by Spotify, Tidal is the way to go.
If you are not yet sure which one is best for you, use the free trial version of the service offer. Practical experience helps you with your purchase decision. Tidal currently offers a free 30-day trial, while Spotify is even more generous with its three-month free trial.
These are the main differences between Spotify and Tidal, although there are a few other smaller ones. If we have overlooked important ones, feel free to let us know in the comments.