But from today, there’s a brand-new service that is launching in both the US and UK. Its main claim is that while Spotify offers 320kbps music, it will offer CD quality streaming using the “Free Lossless Audio Codec” or FLAC – ALAC (Apple AAPL +0.16% Lossless Audio Codec) is used on iPhone and other iOS devices. The specs say that you’ll get the full CD sampling rate of 44 kHz, 16bit and at a bitrate of 1411kbps.
Of course the main selling point for Tidal over anything else is the quality. And on that front I have to say that I was totally blown away. I tried several different phones and a PC for my testing.
Another part of the service is access to 25,000 ad-free music videos in HD. I used this less, but I really like the idea of it being there. In an ideal world I’d be able to stream these to a Chromecast from the app, but that might arrive later. For now, music videos are a nice bonus, but not really a reason to subscribe on their own.
£20 or $20 per month is expensive when compared to other subscription music services like Spotify £9.99 or Rdio £9.99 but then Tidal are offering a level of quality that only QoBuz is currently doing – full lossless sound quality at FLAC 16 bit/44.1 kHz 1411kbps. If you are seriously into your music then Tidal or QoBuz is the way to go with full unlimited music at true CD quality sound but until Spotify and Rdio catch up, that twenty per month might put some people off for the moment.