Apple Music VS. TIDAL Side by Side Streaming Music Comparison

TIDAL is the first global music streaming service with high fidelity sound. But Tidal is now far from the only hi-res player in the music streaming game, with Qobuz, Amazon Music HD and Apple Music. also offering better-than-CD streams. Apple is bringing lossless tracks to Apple Music sometime this June at the same price as their former lossy-only tiers. Six months later,Tidal is finally responding by launching a free tier(US only) and a new, less pricey HiFisubscription($9.99/month). So with the same price, which is better?

In this article we will compare TIDAL and Apple Music in several aspects.

Subscription Plan

The biggest difference is Apple Music has a cheap Voice subscription - only for stream, no offline playback. Apple Music and TIDAL individual plan both cost $9.99 per month. In this plan, Apple Music songs are available in lossless audio at different resolutions. In Apple Music, “Lossless” refers to lossless audio up to 48kHz, and “Hi-Res Lossless” refers to lossless audio from 48kHz to 192kHz.

TIDAL's $9.99 per month HiFi plan offers HiFi Sound Quality(Up to 1411 kbps).

Apple Music subscriptions

In November 2021, Tidal responded to moves made by competitors earlier in the year to weaken it and offer high-definition streaming at a fairly low price - and it did so by changing its tiers and pricing structure.

In the US? Luck you. US customers can now take advantage of the service’s first-ever free plan, called Tidal Free, which offers streams of the complete library of 80 million tracks at 160kbps with “limited interruptions”.

The Tidal Premium tier (£9.99, $9.99, AU$11.99 per month) that offered 320kbps quality has now been rebranded as Tidal HiFi and streams at up to 1411 kbps (i.e. CD quality), as well as offline capabilities and access to features such as Tidal Connect, for that same monthly price.

The top tier, formerly ‘Tidal HiFi’, is now known as ‘Tidal HiFi Plus’ and remains £19.99 ($19.99, AU$23.99) per month. It brings audio quality up to 9216 kbps (i.e. hi-res) by supporting Tidal Masters via Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology. It is also the tier you have to subscribe to in order to listen to immersive music in Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Audio.

Tidal subscriptions

Apple Music
  • Voice ($9.99 / month) Coming soon
  • Individual (90 days free then $9.99 / month)
  • Family (90 days free then $14.99 / month)
  • Student (90 days free then $4.99 / month)
TIDAL
  • Free (US only)
  • HiFi (30 days free then $9.99 / month)
  • HiFi Plus (30 days free then $19.99 / month)
  • Family HiFi (30 days free then $14.99 / month)
  • Family HiFi Plus (30 days free then $29.99 / month)
  • Student HiFi (30 days free then $4.99 / month)
  • Student HiFi Plus (30 days free then $9.99 / month)

Catalog

Apple Music has over 90 million songs and 30,000 playlists. Besides, you can access your entire library from any device and listen online or off. Download 100,000 songs to your library.

TIDAL has over 90 million tracks and 450k+ videos.

Offline Playback

Apple Music: After you add music to your library, you can download it to your device to listen to offline. Apple Music allows you to download songs on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android device, Mac or PC. Download up to 100,000 songs to your library.

TIDAL: You can download up to 10000 songs on Tidal. Offline use is only available for the TIDAL mobile app. You can't download content with TIDAL desktop app. You can use 1 device in online mode and 5 devices in offline mode simultaneously.

Streaming quality

The term "lossless" is a big one in music streaming right now, no doubt because Apple Music and Spotify have announced they're bringing lossless quality audio into the mainstream. Apple is bringing lossless tracks to Apple Music sometime this June, and Spotify launching a lossless tier of its streaming service, called Spotify Hifi, "later this year."

It's true that lossless quality music streaming has been around for years, thanks to dedicated lossless streaming services like Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz and, more recently, Amazon Music HD — but it's always been expensive (like twice as expensive as most "Premium" subscriptions). Now that Apple and Spotify are getting into the mix, lossless audio is about to get way more affordable and accessible.

Apple has developed its own lossless audio compression technology called Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). In addition to AAC, the entire Apple Music catalog is now also encoded using ALAC in resolutions ranging from 16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) up to 24-bit/192 kHz.

  • 20 million songs in lossless audio at launch with the full 90 million songs available by the end of the year.
  • Apple Music subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV can listen to thousands of Dolby Atmos music tracks using any headphones.

In Apple Music, “Lossless” refers to lossless audio up to 48kHz, and “Hi-Res Lossless” refers to lossless audio from 48kHz to 192kHz.

In Tidal, HiFi refers to 1411kbps or 16bit / 44.1kHz, and “Hi-Res" refers to up to 9216 Kbps or 24 bit / 192 kHz.

Apple Music
  • High Efficiency HE-AAC with low data usage(Cellular Streaming)
  • High Quality AAC 256 kbps
  • Lossless ALAC up to 24-bit/48 kHz
  • Hi-Res Lossless ALAC up to 24-bit/192 kHz
TIDAL
  • HiFi - Lossless quality audio (1411kbps or 16bit / 44.1kHz).
  • High - Best compromise between data usage and sound quality (320kbps AAC).
  • Normal - Reduced data usage for slower connections.

TIDAL HiFi Plus
  • Master - Original master recordings - authenticated by the record label or artist themselves. Unrivaled quality, clarity and depth delivering all file sizes (up to 24 bit / 352kHz), using no more bandwidth than a CD quality (16 bit / 44.1kHZ) file (up to 9216 Kbps or 24 bit / 192 kHz).
  • Immersive Audio - Allows sounds to be precisely and spatially placed. We are the only service to support both 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos on mobile devices.
  • HiFi - Lossless quality audio (1411kbps or 16bit / 44.1kHz).
  • High - Best compromise between data usage and sound quality (320kbps AAC).
  • Normal - Reduced data usage for slower connections.

Compatible devices

If you already own a variety of Apple products, staying the course with Apple Music might be the best way to go. Its integration with iPhone, Apple Watch, Homepod and more lets you transfer audio between devices easily for a seamless listening experience. Plus, it’s also configured to communicate with Siri.

Apple's HomePod speaker is designed to be used in conjunction with ‌Apple Music‌. You can stream audio to ‌HomePod‌ from a device running the Tidal app, but that's it. On the other hand, Tidal supports Chromecast, Android TV, Sonos speakers, and Squeezebox, while ‌Apple Music‌ only works natively on ‌HomePod‌ and Amazon Echo devices.

Verdict

Apple Music and TIDAL now offer lossless audio with the same price. If you persue lossless music, just pick any one of them, although Apple Music's access your entire library may be a extra credit.

For music melomaniacs, Tidal's HiFi Plus tier has extra appeal and will no doubt still appeal to those with MQA-supporting hardware.

Extra tips: How to download Tidal music to MP3

Tidal Music Converter

Tidal Music Converter

  • Download Tidal music to MP3, M4A, etc.
  • Preserve 100% original quality.
  • Keep all ID3 tags.
  • Fast download speed.

1. Run Pazu Tidal Converter

Download , install and run Pazu Tidal Converter on your Windows, which features a built-in Tidal web player.

Tidal converter

If you have purchased a license, click the key icon to register the converter. If not, continue using the trial version.

2. Log in your Tidal account

Follow the onscreen instructions to log in yout Tidal account.

Log in Tidal

download Tidal songs to FLAC

3. Choose output format

The default output format is M4A. Pazu Tidal Music Converter also supports MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF. Click the Gear icon on the top right corner to change output format or output folder if you need.

You can also customize output song name with any combination of Title, Artist, Album, Track Number, Playlist Index.

download Tidal songs to FLAC

4. Add songs

Click any playlist you want to download.

download Tidal songs to FLAC

Then click the red icon to load songs. All songs in the playlist will be added by default. You can uncheck the songs you don't want to get.

download Tidal songs to FLAC

5. Click Convert button

Click Convert button to start downloading Tidal music to the format you choose.

download Tidal songs to FLAC

After conversion, click the folder icon to quickly locate the downloaded Tidal songs in the format you choose. You can then transfer and play it anywhere.

download Tidal songs to FLAC