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TIDAL is About to Get Some FLAC From Hi-Fi Tier Subscribers

TIDAL Hi-Fi tier subscribers will be paying more starting on August 1st. Hi-Fi Plus subscribers will not face the same increase and can now stream FLAC files.

TIDAL Adds FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) Music

TIDAL has been in the news of late because of MQA’s struggling financial health and how that might impact the hi-res steaming platform going forward.

Earlier this year MQA filed paperwork with the UK courts for the Appointment of Administrators. This is the British equivalent of filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under United States law. There is a twist to this though as MQA may be able to survive and re-emerge but will likely have to sell off SCL6 (formerly MQAir) to do so.

We’re still in a holding pattern in regard to MQA’s future.

MQA logo

The second part of the story involves FLAC and how the streaming platform plans on implementing it.

An announcement on TIDAL’s Reddit feed created a bit of a stir but there is more to the story than just the announcement that TIDAL will be adding lossless FLAC files to its Hi-Fi Plus tier. 

CEO Jesse Dorogusker’s exact words were “We will be introducing hi-res FLAC for our HiFi Plus subscribers soon.”

There was no second part to the statement that involved the removal of MQA Master files and nor was any date given in regard to the FLAC files. “Soon” is rather ambiguous to say the least and as we learned from Spotify — “Spotify HiFI is coming.”

He further stated that “FLAC is lossless and an open standard. It’s a big file, but we’ll give you controls to dial this up and down based on what’s going on.”  

Is it possible that dial will involve MQA for mobile and FLAC for those with higher bandwidth?

Obviously there is also the possibility within FLAC to dial bit depth and sampling frequency up and down but even 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC is likely to remain larger than MQA due to its lossless nature.

The third part of the story is going to make TIDAL ‘Hi-Fi’ tier subscribers very unhappy.

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Prepare to pay more starting on August 1st for your monthly subscription.

TIDAL currently charges £9.99 / $9.99 USD / AU$11.99 for the Hi-Fi tier which allows users to stream in lossless CD quality.

American users will now have to pay an additional $1 USD per month and customers in the UK and Europe will see their prices rise by a single Pound Sterling or Euro. It’s not a huge increase but in a segment that is very driven by cost — will TIDAL Hi-Fi tier users look at Apple Music or Amazon Music HD instead?

Interestingly, we are not hearing any news about an increase for ‘Hi-Fi Plus’ subscribers who are already benefitting from the introduction of FLAC files and who already have access to hi-res 24-bit streaming via MQA Masters, as well as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio tracks.

Is TIDAL passing along the expense of adding FLAC to those paying less?

We will have more information on this increase and how it might impact other tiers when TIDAL responds to our questions.

For more information: tidal.com

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. BobPM

    July 7, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    Glad I never worried about getting an MQA DAC. I nevertheless subscribed to the top Tidal tier since they claim to pay higher fees to artists. Since I don’t use MQA, so this is good news.

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