Whether you’re a Spotify addict, a Pandora fan, or (by the slimmest of chances) a Beats Music subscriber, there’s one thing that nearly all major streaming services have in common: low quality audio. Oslo, Norway’s Aspiro Group aims to bring music streaming up a notch with Tidal, a new CD-quality streaming service that launched today in the U.S. and the U.K.
Some audioheads may recall Sonos’ recent announcement of exclusive rights to Deezer Elite, another service that offers streaming at CD quality, which, at 16-bit/44.1-kHz resolution, far exceeds the MP3-level music users get from virtually all the big names in the industry.
However, Tidal has already matched Deezer Elite’s partnership with Sonos, and to pad its landing, the service tacks on 15 other big names including Denon’s new HEOS system, and Harman’s recently announced Omni speaker system, which we had a chance to preview at IFA this year. Apart from those bigger players, Tidal has announced partnerships with Bluesound & NAD, Meridian, Auralic, Electrocompaniet, Simple Audio, Raumfeld, Dynaudio, Audiovector, Pro-ject, Airable by Tune In Media, HiFiAkademie, and ickStream.
Currently, new subscribers that sign up for Tidal will be greeted by a 7-day free trial, followed by a $20/month subscription fee — twice the cost of most low-res services. For the heftier investment, Tidal users will get commercial-free access to 25 million lossless audio tracks streamed in FLAC or ALAC format, over 75,000 HD music videos, and “tailor-made editorial” from music journalists.
Along with its impressive list of audio partners, Tidal will also be available for both iOS and Android devices, as well as offering Web players for Mac and PC. And the company claims its first 16 partners are just the start. Tidal will look to garner more audio partners in the future and is looking to expand to as many as 50 countries worldwide.
It should be interesting to see the reaction to Tidal when it hits the scene this Fall. Will listeners be willing to pay an extra $10 for top-notch streaming, or will the service be yet another casualty to the 10-million-strong reign of Spotify? With its highly-anticipated launch starting today, we’ll find out soon enough.
[Update 10/28/2014: Tiday officially launched today in the U.S. and U.K., offering users a free 7-day trial]