Music steaming services have always been a bit of double edged sword for the modern audiophile. The convenience of having nearly every song you love at your fingertips has been plagued by low resolution capabilities that can sometimes leave the music flat and lifeless (or in particularly bad cases) crispy and distorted in the high end. A new music streaming service that just launched today in the US hopes to change all that.
I ran into Tidal’s new marketing director David Solomon at Rocky Mountain Audiofest this year and he was certainly fired up about the launch. David has always been a welcome staple at hifi shows across the US and the big colorado audio show was no exception. Big news and big changes are on the horizon for streaming companies and digital audio in general, so there is plenty of reason to get excited. Even with the ever-increasing size of hard drives, high fidelity music files have always been a beast to manage. If Netfix can stream 4k, why not the same for audio? David and company are the first to usher in a new era of subscription based hifi, which as any DSD collector will tell you is most welcome.
The Tidal music streaming service launched with all the ubiquity that you would expect from a well-executed streaming product. Apps for every mobile device, native players for PC/MAC platforms and a web-based player to boot. Sound quality is the differentiating part of the equation for Tidal and so far from my initial listening sessions from the native MAC player things are looking (and sounding) very good indeed.
I was delightfully surprised to even find that the internal player allows for direct control of the sound output from within the preferences settings, not something that I’ve ever been able to control directly from the Spotify player – a very HiFi move indeed. The current selection of music felt fairly robust for opening day. A surprising amount of current pop was available from the “Top 20” song playlist, which feels like significantly more than what Amazon Prime’s service has been able to recruit. The current track count for Tidal hovers around 25 million.
Its an impressive start for those pushing for higher resolutions. Users in the US can taste a sample of the goods themselves at the link below free for 7 days (a credit card is needed to create a login) and after that its $20 a month. These are exciting times to be an audiophile, no doubt!