TIDAL - updated

updated November 2, 2014

HERC loves Spotify.  Still he relentlessly tests the new streaming services as they come along, seeing if any one of them has upped the ante, changed the game or flipped the script.  He has tried them all and Spotify Premium remains HERC's Streaming Service Of Choice.  Here's the highs and lows of HERC's all day, hands and ears on experience with Tidal:

  • Thirty day free trial for being a VIP (i.e. submitting email address over a month ago), one week free trial for everyone else
  • Desktop player is clean, uncluttered and intuitive
  • Apps load and start faster than Spotify on iPhone and iPad
  • Playing songs via playlist resulted in no fewer buffer delays
  • Web player uses less PC resources than Spotify
  • Has both Flashdance and Heavy Metal soundtracks in catalog while Spotify has neither
  • Desktop player and iOS apps offer Last.fm scrobbling - HERC's Last.fm profile
  • Ability to import Spotify playlists directly into desktop player
  • Works with both Bluetooth and Airplay
  • Unlike Spotify, allows use on multiple platforms simultaneously - HERC had was playing different songs on iPhone, iPad and PC all at the same time
  • Def Leppard's greatest hits are on Tidal - both their Rock Of Ages (2005) and Vault (1995) albums as well as Adrenalize (1992) - none of these are on Spotify

  • No Metallica or Led Zeppelin (both are on Spotify)
  • No Streets Of Fire or Manhunter soundtracks (both are on Spotify)
  • 45 minutes of streaming through iPhone in highest quality used 600MB of data plan
  • $19.99 a month
  • Five second buffer before each song played on PC
  • Desktop player uses more PC resources than Spotify's desktop player
  • Caching 90 songs with a playing time of just under 8 hours takes up 2.3 gigabytes of storage on device in highest quality
  • No Last.fm scrobbling with Web Player
  • No volume leveling feature means constant volume adjustment
  • No apparent way to supplement library with personal tracks like Spotify
  • There were glitches in 10 out of 10 Spotify playlists of various sizes imported into Tidal (still a great feature)
  • inability to import iTunes playlists directly into desktop player; import them to Spotify first, then import Spotify playlists
  • 324 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time (2010 list)

  • Offers hi-definition videos for some artists on Web player
  • Lacks the same non-streaming artists as Spotify: The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, Def Leppard's best albums, Bob Seger, AC/DC, etc
  • Facebook integration
  • Can share tracks, albums and playlist via Facebook, Twitter or email
Share your experiences and opinions in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. There have indeed been some changes since November 2014. Once again, your boy HERC signed up for a a 30 day trial when Tidal was relaunched amid deafening hype in March 2015. The 30 day trial is available to everyone but like before you do have to provide a credit card number for future billing beyond the 30 day trial unless you remember to cancel - HERC has three different calendar reminders set for day 21 of his trial so he can cancel then and deal with any issues well before Day 30.

    The user interface has changed - for the better in HERC's opinion. However the buffering and the loading lagtimes are still present as music fans and Taylor Swift fans clamor to join the new hotness.

    The catalog has changed as well, also seemingly for the better. Both Metallica and Led Zeppelin are part of Tidal's catalog now though all the other holdouts remain the same.

    Some people pointed out at launch that searching "jay z" yeilded no results but now that is how all of his music is listed within Tidal despite his name clearly appearing on all the album covers as Jay-Z.

    Probably the biggest change is all the videos and playlists labeled EXCLUSIVE on the What's New page. Both Apple and Spotify have done this for years so it's nothing new but its up to you to decide if the Tidal Exclusives are the extra features you're looking for. For HERC, there was nothing to make him wanna stick around and left him wondering if playlists could be considered Exclusive? If they contained Exclusive content, maybe?

    There can be four reasons HERC can think of to sign-up for Tidal 2015:
    1) you want to stream Taylor Swift's back catalog but not her latest album
    2) you are a snobby audiophile who doesn't mind the buffering and stuttering as the higher resolution audio files (which are considerably larger than their "standard" resoltuion counterparts) make their way across the interwebs to your waiting digital audio converter and tricked-out audio playback system
    3) you are fed up with Spotify's latest desktop client, would rather not roll back to the previous version but still need your music fix
    4) you truly believe that artists who have signed away some or all of their rights to the music they wrote, created and performed, whether knowingly or unwittingly, should make as much or more money than the artists who own their music

    HERC would love to hear of anyone's experiences with Tidal, good or bad.

    Check back in a year and we'll see how Tidal's doing.