When I am not working (Wianw) …..

Tidal vs. Spotify

Background Noise –  Tidal The Killers: Wonderful, Wonderful

Over the last years, streaming took over as the music source and while I love my CD and Phono setup, ease of consumption is key these days.
Also I am a road warrior, traveling 3 -5 days a week. Having my music with me while in the air or at work is important.
Last but not least, I think that social media, really helps exploring new music, much easier then in the old days….

So a few years ago I decided to give Spotify a shot – at that time the only option to sync music on your device. Initally I only used Spotify to listen on my PC, then my mobile devices and later connected it to my Sonos Speakers. All works well.

The integration with my stereo setup did not. I tried connecting my Phone as a source, but the Iphone headphone amp is not something on par with a decent stereo system. The last attempt  was a Raspberry Streaming client with an hat-board with an Digital output, into one of my old DAC’s … that itself is worth a whole blog…it was ok as a test setup, but nothing for day to day usage.

My bluray player, the Oppo BDP 105, is a little swiss armyknife in regards to connecting different formats and sources. I already used it to stream FLAC files from my mediasever  and it offered to connect to Tidal. So I gave it a try. The integration is ok, but not great. Therfore, earlier this year, I switched to a dedicated streaming device. The Bluesound Node2 has good connectivity and and a good remote-app.

At this point I am still running 2 subscriptions:

  • Spotify Family for my Sonos Devices as well providing music to the rest of the family
  • Tidal for listening when on the road and at home via my audiophile setup.

I thought it makes sense to compare the two Services. Please take this with a grain of salt… technology never stands still, e.g. I just read that Spotify is now also planning to offer a lossless streaming format.

Spotify

  • User Interface
    • Mature User Interface
    • Excellent Mobile App
  • Music Quality/Technology
    • uses Ogg Vorbis as a codec  – with a subscription you are supposed to get CD-Like Quality (in reality it is not lossless – so yeah no CD Quality)
    • Great Sonos Integration – you can select Sonos Speakers in your network via the Spotify Mobile App
    • Available Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web
  •  Content
    • some stars are still not releasing their catalogue on Spotify
    • great social media integration – you can add Friends and see what they are listening to.
    • collaborative playlists – create a playlist and invite your friends to modify add to it
    • spotify has a great selection of pre-defined Playlists a great way to explore
    • intelligent / smart Playlists, which based on what you listen on Spotify add new songs (Discover Weekly and Your Daily Mix)
    • Spotify Landmark recordings,  which are narrated by the artists (a bit like MTV unplugged, VH-1 Storyteller), e.g. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill Album
  •  Pricing
    • free – ad supported, no hi-quality streaming, no offline sync
    • premium single user $9.99 per month
    • family $14.99 fro up to 5 User – they all have to live in the same residence

Tidal

  • User Interface
    • being so used to Spotify, it feels clunky…..
    • search is not “google” like simple… it’s very hard to find sometimes a song
    • to me the windows/web client is very different form the Content Structure then the iPad or iOS
  • Music Quality/Technology
    • best possible streaming sound quality
    • the whole Catalog is available in lossless CD Quality
    • seems most available albums as a FLAC format are getting on TIDAL in the MQA Format
    • sonos integration, however you still need to use your Sonos App to pick songs and adjust your playlist on that device.
    • available Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web
  • Content
    • limited social media Integration
    • access to Videos – a feature I am not using at all
    • no intelligent playlist generation, based on your listening behavior …
    • Tidal Rising  / Release Radar … but not as tailored as Spotify
  • Pricing
    • no fremium – but a 30 day free trial for the premium version
    • premium – single User $9.99 / $8.49 per month prepaid
    • Tidal HIFI – single User $19.99 / $14.99 per month prepaid – Lossless CD Quality

In a nustshell if you want to have the best sounds possible, TIDAL is for now your option…. for the easiest consumption and the best social media integration Spotify is still the best choice.

BTW: one thing I hated when I switched from Apple Music to Spotify was to re-create my playlists. Nowadays there is this great service called soundiiz – priceless if you switch streaming provider. (Credit goes to Gizmodo’s Fieldguide)

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