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TIDAL vs Apple Music: Which is Better?



TIDAL and Apple Music are two of the biggest names in music streaming. Both offer their own exclusives and while Apple Music is more popular, there are key reasons why TIDAL and TIDAL HiFi remain popular in 2020.

Both services start at $9.99 a month, or less with discounts, but TIDAL also offers a HiFi solution with higher quality music streaming options — including studio master quality sound.

$4 for 4 Months of TIDAL

As you compare TIDAL and Apple Music, we will help you figure out which sounds better and which is a better value for you.

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Price and Discounts

TIDAL vs Apple Music

How do TIDAL and Apple Music compare?

The standard price for Apple Music or TIDAL is $9.99 per month, but there are a range of plans from $4.99 a month up to $29.99 per month. Here’s a breakdown of the plans and options to save as a student, first responder or military member.

Tidal Apple Music
Free Trial 30 Days 3 Months
Standard Plan $9.99 $9.99
HiFi $19.99 NA
Family Plan $14.99 $14.99
HiFi Family Plan $29.99 NA
Student Plan $4.99 $4.99
HiFi Student Plan $9.99 NA
Military Plan $5.99 NA
Military HiFi Plan $11.99 NA
First Responder Plan $5.99 NA
First Responder HiFi Plan $11.99 NA

The discounted plans all require that you sign up and verify it with a service. With the student plan, you need to re-verify every year.

Free Trials

There are a lot of free trial options for Apple Music, and you may even qualify for up to six months free if you use Verizon. TIDAL offers a standard 30-day trial, but you can also get five months for $5 — which is a pretty stellar deal if you want to try it out long term.

If you’ve already tried TIDAL, the $5 for five months plan should be available. For users that have tried Apple Music in the past, it is possible to get a one month trial after a short period without, just open your app and look for an offer.

When any of the free trials or limited time offers end, the plan switches automatically to a paid subscription.

Music Quality Options

TIDAL vs Apple Music quality.

TIDAL offers higher quality streaming.

While Apple Music only offers one quality option, TIDAL offers a range of sound quality options that you can choose.

Apple Music streaming quality is 256 kbps AAC, and you cannot change this setting.

TIDAL streaming is available in four quality options;

  • Normal
  • High – 320kbps AAC
  • HiFi – lossless CD quality – 1411kbps or 16bit / 44.1kHz
  • Master – Master Quality Audio – 96 kHz / 24 bit

You can set these up for streaming over WiFi, Cellular and downloads so that you can manage how much data you use and work around slower connections.

Music Selection and Offline Playback

TIDAL and Apple Music offer similar selections of music. Both services boast over 60 million songs in their libraries, with a lot of crossovers.

There are still some exclusives, and limited-time exclusives, but for the most part you will find the same music on each service.

TIDAL offers Hi-Fi quality for these 60 million tracks with a Hi-Fi subscription and you can listen to over 200,000 Masters Quality songs with that subscription.

Both services allow you to download music for offline playback to save data usage or to listen to while you are on a plane or not connected to the Internet.

Apple lets you download up to 100,000 songs to an unlimited number of devices signed into the same Apple ID. TIDAL lets you download as many songs as you want to up to five offline devices.

Apps and the Web

Apple Music and TIDAL both offer apps on iPhone and Android as well as streaming on the web and on desktop apps.

Both apps work well, though TIDAL is a little easier to use. You can download music to playback offline and you can create and manage playlists on both.

Smart Speakers and Devices

TIDAL vs Apple Music Alexa

What can you stream TIDAL or Apple Music on?

Apple Music offers tight integration with Siri and the HomePod. You can also use it with Alexa to voice control your music. You can also use your Apple TV or Bluetooth speakers.

With TIDAL, you can use Alexa or Google Assistant to play music. You can also listen on Apple TV and through a wide range of audio and video equipment. You get support for many popular smart TVs and devices as well as Chromecast.

TIDAL is the clear winner in terms of devices you can play through, but Siri may be an edge for Apple Music depending on how you use your devices.

Playlists, Music, and Discovery

Both services include custom and curated playlists.

No matter which app you choose, you get access to curated playlists and to a range of options that match your musical tastes.

Apple Music asks you for the artists you like when you start using it and builds your playlists from that. TIDAL learns as you listen and you get a My Mix section that populates with mixes based on your tastes over time.

On the TIDAL home screen, you will find new albums, new songs to listen to and other recommendations. This helps new content get on your radar. You can also explore playlists, radio stations and more on this screen.

In the Apple Music app, you will find a range of playlists made for you and you can also see top charts and mixes designed for you.

Listening in the Car

Apple Music and TIDAL offer Apple CarPlay apps. You can also use both apps with Android Auto.

If you don’t have a car that supports those options, you can use Bluetooth, plug-in with USB or use a 3.5mm headphone jack to listen in your car.

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