Apple Music vs Tidal: Is Tidal Better Than Apple Music

By James Blair Updated on 2023-05-17 / Update for Apple Music Tips

Streaming music is convenient nowadays, especially since some services have free subscription give outs. However, with a growing number of music services, it may be a tough decision to select one among them. And Apple Music vs Tidal is the in-talk at present.

Apple Music and Tidal are the two largest players that are currently on-trend in the music streaming market. Since its launch way back in 2015, Apple Music has continued to grow in popularity probably due to its massive catalog and manageable low price. Tidal, on the other hand, is dedicated to sound quality and much better file compression and has a tendency to feature big names like Jay-Z and Madonna. It's better to have a holistic look at the two streaming services. And this article can help you to make it. Come with us and select the best music streaming service now! Or you can directly skip to Part 9 to look at the overview chart.

tidal vs apple music

Part 1. Apple Music vs. Tidal: Overview

Apple Music, launched in 2015, is available in over 165 countries and regions now. Apple Music is home to ad-free 100 million tracks in its music library. With advanced technology and algorithm, it can track your music tastes and habits to create curated playlists and live audio. Besides, this music platform work with Dolby Atmos, so you can enjoy immersive spatial audio with it. But, it is a pity that Apple Music is limited to the iOS ecosystem and compatible with most iOS devices. If you are an Android lover, you cannot access Apple Music on your device system. With 108 million users, the number of people who subscribe to Apple Music subscriptions arrive at 33 million so far.

apple music logo

Tidal, founded in 2014 by Aspiro Company previously but now acquired by Jay-Z's investment firm, is distributed to more than 60 countries and areas. Tidal boasts ad-free 100+ million tracks with also expert tailored playlists. Similar to Apple Music, Tidal is also a partner of Dolby Atmos. However, different from Apple Music and other streaming services, Tidal pays more attention to providing multi-quality audio, which is vying for most audiophiles. Tidal Dolby Atmos, Tidal Master (MQA), HiFi, and Sony 360 Reality Audio are offered to Tidal users, which gets its users soaked in the awesome and spatial rounded listening experience. Compared with Apple Music, Tidal boasts 60+ million registered users and 5 million subscribers.

tidal logo

Look at this chart, you can have a quick look at the basic information difference between Tidal and Apple Music.

Information Apple Music Tidal
Launch Time 2015 2014
Available Countries 165+ 60+
Music Library 110 M tracks and 30 K playlists 100+M tracks and 650+K videos
Curated Playlists Yes Yes
Offline Mode Yes Yes
System Require Mainly for iOS system For both Android and iOS system
Audio Genres Apple Music Lossless
Apple Music Dolby Atmos
High-fidelity sound quality
Master Quality Authenticated (MAQ)
Dolby Atmos
Sony 360 Reality Audio
Users and Subscribers 108 million users (33 million subscribed) 60 million users (5 million) subscribed
Offline Mode Both available for desktop and mobile Mobile only

✨Verdict: It seems that Apple Music is more popular than Tidal worldwide, but Tidal performs better in various audio qualities. And here is a clear table to scan over the main information comparison of Apple Music vs Tidal.

Part 2. Apple Music vs Tidal: Sound Quality

Sound quality plays a significant role in comparing two streaming services. As we stated in the above content, Apple Music owns Dolby Atmos. In fact, Apple Music has pronounced its unique Apple Music Lossless audio. Those Apple Music audios streams in AAC and unique ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), among which AAC's bit rate is 128 kbps and 256 kbps and ALAC owns 1141 kbps and 2304 - 9216 kbps bitrates.

Compared to Apple Music, Tidal comes out AAC, FLAC, and WAV formats for its various audio genres including Tidal Dolby Atmos, Tidal 360 Reality Audio, Tidal HiFi, and Tidal Master. Amid those formats, the bit rate shows 160 and 320 kbps for AAC, 1141 kbps for FLAC, and 2304 - 9216 kbps for FLAC and WAV.

And here is a table about Tidal vs Apple Music sound quality:

Music Services Apple Music Tidal
Supported Formats AAC (Max Desktop Quality)
ALAC (Max Streaming Quality)
AAC (Tidal Free)
FLAC (Tidal HiFi)
WAV (Tidal HiFi Plus)
Sound Quality AAC:
128 kbps (High-Efficiency)
256 kbps (High-Quality)
16-bit/44.1 kHz (Lossless CD Quality)
24-bit/192 kHz (Hi-Res Lossless)
160kbps (Normal)
320 kbps (High-Quality)
16-bit/44.1 kHz (Hi-Fidelity)
24-bit/96 kHz (Master)
24-bit/196 kHz (Hi-Res Master)

✨Verdict: Tidal boasts more kinds of audio than Apple Music. But both of them can stream up to 1141 kbps and 9216 kbps bit rate.

Part 3. Apple Music vs Tidal: Device Compatibility

Apple Music is more iOS ecosystem-oriented. It is compatible with Apple devices such as Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple CarPlay and wearables, and, HomePod. Also, it is available on some non-Apple products such as Android, Amazon Echo, Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Google Nest, Sonos, PlayStation 5, etc. And there is an 'AirPlay 2' for Apple Music users to cast Apple Music to enabled devices.

However, Apple Music does not support streaming Apple Music Lossless audio only on Apple products and Android instead of Windows PC and other systems devices. And the Apple Music app for PC is in beta, it only offers a previous version of the Apple Music app: Apple Music Preview Windows 11 app.

However, Tidal is available on most devices including Apple TV, iPhone, Android, Windows, Yamaha, Amazon Echo devices, Bluesound, Roku, and more. You can visit the web page to check your device. Similar to AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect facilitates Tidal members to play Tidal music directly on Tidal Connect-compatible devices.

✨Verdict: If you are an Apple-phile, Apple Music is a great shot for you. But if you have few Apple products, it is more worth taking priority to Tidal.

⚠Note: It remains the possibility to play Apple Music on both Apple and no-Apple devices. All you need to convert protected Apple Music to universal formats such as MP3, AAC, etc., which is compatible with most devices and players. So that you can play Apple Music on more devices.

To make it, you need a third-party music converter or downloader. Maybe you can try AudFree Apple Music Converter, an all-around and excellent program to convert Apple music M4A and M4P songs to MP3 and other formats including FLAC, W4A, WAB, and AAC. And distinct from Apple Music subscriptions, it can preserve the converted Apple Music local files permanently even though you cancel Apple Music subscriptions. And it won't touch the original audio quality and ID3 tags, so you will stream the converted Apple Music just like on the Apple Music app. After conversion, you are able to play the Apple Music downloads anywhere and anytime without the Apple Music app and iTunes. If you want to listen to Apple Music on your Apple-incompatible device, you can give this converter a shot.

Part 4. Tidal vs Apple Music: Music Discovery

Looking at which is better Apple Music or Tidal in terms of music discovery? Apple Music could be at a higher level in that it has more discoveries for your take. With this, you can simply sync your devices across. In fact, iTunes can synchronize all the acquired information and settings, as well as download the purchases you've made on other services.

Besides, you can discover the 'Beat 1' feature which is a radio channel with a unique take on music and other entertainments. Others include 'New Music Mix' which is actually updated every other Friday with new personalized songs. Plus, Apple Music Replay also will automatically update to add new songs to the playlist.

Tidal music streaming service has 'curated playlists' which is quite a unique feature. Here, you'll find playlists and recommended albums that are constructed by its employees. Other than these, enjoy Tidal's behind-the-scenes footage and Full HD videos that make your music experience a really fun-filled one.

✨Verdict: In fact, the 'New Music Mix' for Apple Music is resemble the 'curated playlists' for Tidal. But Apple Music has a unique 'Beat 1'. You cannot find a similar feature like this in Tidal. So, Apple Music gets an edge over Tidal.

Part 5. Tidal vs Apple Music: Music Library and Content

Apple Music users can access approximately 100 million tracks and 30000 playlists with 51 music genres and 120 content categories. Moreover, Apple Music has set exclusive language-specific sections, for instance, South Asia Language Guidelines and Asia-Pacific Language Guidelines sections, etc. In fact, some artists exclusively release their music videos to Apple Music before any other streaming services get hold of them, such as Snoop Dogg's 'Coolaid', Vic Mensa's 'We Could Be Free', and other Apple Music exclusives.

Tidal boasts more than 100 million tracks and additional 650+ K videos with lesser 25 track genres and 29 categories. Tidal was acquired by the artist Jay-Z's company, so Tidal focuses more on the artist Jay-Z and cooperated with a plethora of artists introduced by Jay-Z.

✨Verdict: Compared to the number of genres and categories, Apple Music seems to win. However, Tidal performs better in content depth. There are more plentiful playlists and album recommendations in each genre.

Part 6. Tidal Subscriptions vs Apple Music Subscriptions

A majority of people focus more on the subscription plans and prices of each platform. In terms of this, which is better: Tidal or Apple Music? So, in this part, we will take you through the difference between Apple Music and Tidal subscriptions.

Plans Difference Between Tidal and Apple Music

Apple Music has three subscription plans going for $9.99 per month for individuals, $14.99 per month for an Apple Music Family Plan for up to six people, as well as $4.99 per month with Apple Music student discount. However, Apple Music doesn't provide a free plan for its users.

Tidal, on the other hand, offers Tidal Free, Tidal HiFi, and Tidal HiFi Plus. thas a compensation plan with a 50% discount for students and a 40% discount for both the military and first responders. There is a basic plan that goes for a $ 9.99 monthly rate and also the 'Hi-Fi Plus' premium subscription at a rate of $19.99. This actually includes everything that the standard subscription has in addition to the lossless compression that it streams at.

Subscriptions Apple Music Tidal
Free Plan
Individual Plan $10.99/month HiFi: $9.99/month
HiFi Plus: $19.99/month
Student Plan $5.99/month Student HiFi: $4.99/month
Student HiFi Plus: $9.99/month
Family Plan $16.99/month Family HiFi: $14.99/month
Family HiFi Plus: $29.99/month
Other Plans Voice Premium ($4.99/month) Military HiFi and First Responder HiFi: $5.99/month

Features and Functionality Comparison

The feature and selling points of Apple Music and Tidal also vary a lot in different plans.

For Apple Music, except for Voice Premium, subscribers for individual, family, and student plans can enjoy the same services and features. For example, spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless audio full catalog, the whole Apple Music library with ad-free tracks and playlists, the control to Apple Music playback with Siri, exclusive shows and concerts, Apple Music Sing, download feature for both mobiles and desktops, offline mode, view friends' listening activity, etc.

However, Tidal provides distinct audio quality and features for different subscriptions. For Tidal Free users, you can listen to normal quality audio at 160 kbps and 100 million tracks with limited interruption. For Tidal HiFi users, they can enjoy additional videos, Tidal Connect, a download feature, curated playlists, and, most importantly, High-fidelity audio quality at 1141 kbps. For Tidal HiFi Plus subscribers, the audio quality is more innovative. Except for HiFi, they can also stream Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and MQA at up to 9216 kbps. However, Tidal doesn't allow listeners to download music on computers but obly on mobiles. Providing that you want to get Tidal downloads on Windows and Mac, you can get aids from a third-party tool. For, example, AudFree Tidal Music Converter is capable to download and convert all types of Tidal music to lossless FLAC, MP3, AAC, WAV, M4A, M4B formats on both Mac and Windows with ID3 tags preserved.

✨Verdict: Generally, Apple Music has a more favorable price for each plan than Tidal. You can enjoy Apple Music Dolby Atmos and Apple Music Lossless audio at $10.99/month, while you need to cost $19.99/month on Tidal to get the same audio quality. However, in terms of various audio types and abundant subscription plans, Tidal wins.

Part 7. Apple Music vs Tidal: Free Trial

Please noted that Apple Music don't have a free plan but a 1-month free trial for each subscription and Apple One feature as well as a 6-month free trial to listen to Apple Music on purchased Apple devices.

See Also: How to Get Apple Music Free Forever

apple music free trial

But Tidal offers a Tidal Free plan and also offers a 1- month free trial for its listeners Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus.

See Also: How to Get Tidal 6-Month Free Trial

✨Verdict: In fact, there is no obvious gap between Apple Music and Tidal in terms of a free trial. But if you have many Apple devices, it is recommended to use Apple Music for its 6-month free trial for Apple products.

Part 8. How Much Do Tidal and Apple Music Pay for Artists

When it comes to artists' compensation on Tidal vs Apple Music, Tidal has a huge whip on this. Since 2017, Tidal has released DAP (Direct Artist Payout) program and the 10% payment for Tidal HiFi Plus directly flows to artists of Tidal. It pays around $0.013 per stream, a rate much higher than Apple Music's $0.01 per stream. So, if you care about the musicians behind your favorite music, know that Tidal is in solidarity with you. However, note that the popularity of the song will also play a major role in regard to this.

As for Apple Music, it uses the Market-Centric Payment System (MCPS) and is pronounced to pay $ 0.01 per stream for artists. In reality, It only does this to the top 23 countries' artists while paying only $ 0.006 for others.

✨Verdict: Obviously, Tidal is the better shot for you if you want your favorite artists to get more.

Part 9. Comparison Overview Chart

Still in a dilemma about whether to give Spotify or Apple Music a shot? Check the following table that can help you make a decision quickly.

Apple Music Tidal
Launch Time 2015 2014
Available Countries 165+ 60+
Offline Mode Yes Yes
System Require Mainly for iOS system For both Android and iOS system
Audio Genres Apple Music Lossless
Apple Music Dolby Atmos
High-fidelity sound quality
Master Quality Authenticated (MAQ)
Dolby Atmos
Sony 360 Reality Audio
Users and Subscribers 108 million users (33 million subscribed) 60 million users (5 million) subscribed
Free Version No Yes
Sound Quality AAC:
1141 kbps (CD Quality)
2304 - 9216 kbps (Hi-Res Lossless)
160kbps (Normal)
320 kbps (High-Quality)
1141 kbps (Hi-Fidelity)
1141 kbps (Master)
2304 - 9216 kbps (Hi-Res Master)
Music Library Around 100 million songs
Over 30000 million playlistss
Over 100 million tracks
Over 450+ K videos
Subscription Price $10.99/month(Individual)
$5.99/month(Student )
Tidal HiFi:
$4.99/month(Student )
$5.99/month(Military/First Responder)
Tidal HiFi Plus:
$9.99/month(Student )
$11.99/month(Military/First Responder)
Supported Devices iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac, HomePod, CarPlay, Smart TVs, Gaming Consoles, Roku, Android, PC, Amazon Echo, Sonos, Google Net iOS and Android devices, smart TV & streamers (Apple TV, Fire TV, Samsung TV, Android TV), Android Auto, desktop, Audio, wearables, Bluesound, Naim, Chromecast, Roku, Vizio, CarPlay, Volkswagen, Lincoln, Tesla, Desktop app for Windows and MacOS, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Amazon Alexa, Mercedes-Benz, etc.
Available Country 165+ countries 61+ countries

In Conclusion

From the above content, we can find that for audiophiles, Tidal is the first choice. But if you are Apple-philes, You cannot miss Apple music. Also, if you just want to find a music app with less cost, Apple Music should be given priority since with a lower price than Tidal, it allows you to enjoy the same audio quality.

James Blair

James Blair

Staff Editor

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James Blair is an experienced writer and music lover. Reviews and tips on using popular music, like Apple Music, can be found in his articles.

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