We knew that Spotify HiFi was going to have a significant impact on digital music streaming and now we’re finally starting to see that major changes are coming to all of the major streaming services. Tidal; which was recently acquired by Jack Dorsey’s Square for $297 million in March, have announced new pricing tiers which are being rolled out initially in the Australian market.
We expect to see these new pricing tiers hit N. America this year so it will be interesting to see how subscribers react and which streaming tier becomes the most popular.
The biggest change is that Tidal is now offering a new streaming tier that differentiates lossless CD-Quality (HiFi) from Hi-Res MQA/Dolby Atmos/Sony 360 Reality Audio (HiFi Plus).
Spotify HiFi is not a hi-res streaming tier but it’s clear that Tidal’s new owners can see the forest from the trees here. Hi-Res audio constitutes less than 10% of their streaming library and why turn potential subscribers off by pushing Hi-Res MQA down their throats if they have zero interest in the the format or no equipment to benefit from it.
Audiophiles have not necessarily bought into MQA either even with the availability of new DACs offering the unfolding and rendering technology required to benefit from its “sonic benefits.”
The reality is the Qobuz offers a substantial library of Hi-Res music without MQA and the price has not budged (for now) making it a seemingly better deal.
Tidal’s new three-tiered price structure now encompasses the following options:
- Premium – $11.99 AUD a month with standard sound quality (320 Kbps)
- HiFi – $17.99 AUD a month with lossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps)
- HiFi Plus – $23.99 AUD a month with lossless Hi-Res (1411 Kbps), Master Quality audio (up to 9216 Kbps), and immersive audio – Sony 360 Reality Audio, and Dolby Atmos Music
So if you don’t care about Hi-Res lossless, you can select ‘HiFi’ for $6 less each month and not have to lose sleep over 24/96, MQA, or requiring the technology to enjoy 90% of Tidal’s existing library of music.
it will be interesting to see how many people decide to opt out of their existing streaming tier that supports MQA and stick with lossless CD sound quality.