Streaming service Tidal has little to offer music lovers

Aubrey Shanahan

It is almost a guarantee that someone you know uses a music streaming service. Pandora and Spotify are the most prominent players in the business right now, but a new service was launched at the end of March: Tidal.

Giants of the music industry, including owners Jay-Z, Beyonce, Coldplay, Daft Punk and Madonna, recently changed their social media profile pictures to a vibrant arctic blue to catch the attention of their followers. It was intriguing and mysterious until they unveiled how Tidal would actually work for customers.


The promotional video was meant to be inspiring, as many of the same artists toting the service on Facebook and Twitter sat in a room together and spoke of how this service would change the music industry forever.

These artists claim that Tidal was created to support all those involved in the process of creating music and ensure they get the financial success they deserve. Jason Aldean, who happens to be one of the co-owners, pulled his music from Spotify soon after Taylor Swift did, citing the same issue with the amount of money artists are paid per play.

It’s understandable that they want the people behind their music to earn their share, but it is highly doubtful that there is no amount of self-interest involved in the decisions of these two musicians.

Despite all of the hype, this service is not innovative or game-changing. In fact, the format of the actual website is eerily similar to Spotify, particularly the look of the playlists page.


A majority of the musicians featured on the front page are already superstars (and owners) who hardly need extra exposure and often don’t even write all of their own music. As a streaming service that claims to be “for the artists,” you would think they would be more supportive of, well, artists.

The most problematic aspect of Tidal is its cost. As college students, we are especially financially challenged. Most of us can barely afford the half-price college discount that Spotify Premium offers students ($5 a month). Spotify’s regular premium price is $9.99 a month and allows song selection and music downloads for offline mode. Yet, even if you don’t pay, you can stream any of the music available.

Tidal, on the other hand, charges $9.99 a month to listen to anything for longer than 30 seconds, and to get their “high fidelity” songs, you have to pay a whopping $19.99 a month. That’s more than paying for both a Netflix and a Hulu Plus account, and for music quality that you probably wouldn’t notice without an amazing pair of headphones.

It’s honestly a ridiculous price for music streaming. And if you ever cancel the premium streaming account, you’re going to have no music to show for all the money you have paid.


My advice? Save your money and stay away from Tidal. Buy the music you love and use a quality player like Spotify to discover new music to add to your collection.

Happy listening, Rams.

Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at or on Twitter @aubs926.