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Apple Music vs Tidal: What's the distinction?

5 min read

Apple Music and Tidal are the fashionable, cool cats of the music streaming service market, each supporting music artists by bringing publicity to their music, and by making an attempt to place them on the centre of the expertise.

Each have large libraries of music and related function units, so when you’re on the lookout for a brand new music streaming service or simply need to know the distinction between Apple Music and Tidal earlier than you lay down your hard-earned money, listed below are the principle variations between the 2 streaming providers.


Apple Music prices $10.99 / £10.99 / €10.99 a month for a person membership, or $5.99 / £5.99 / €5.99 a month for college kids. The service additionally provides a $16.99 / £16.99 / €16.99 a month Household plan for as much as six individuals and an all-in-one subscription to a number of Apple providers beginning at $16.95 / £16.95 / €16.95 a month with Apple One.

There’s no free model of Apple Music however there’s a one-month free trial for brand spanking new customers, and with sure Apple gadgets it’s additionally doable to get six-month free subscription. For these trying to avoid wasting money there may be the Voice plan for $4.99 / £4.99 / €4.99 a month that performs music by means of the Siri voice assistant solely. There are many choices in getting a subscription to Apple Music.

Tidal doesn’t supply as many plans and takes a unique strategy by splitting its pricing into two principal tiers: Hello-Fi and Hello-Fi Plus.

Hello-Fi prices $9.99 / £9.99 / €9.99 a month and provides all the library as much as CD high quality and ad-free. Hello-Fi Plus takes {that a} step additional with entry to Excessive-Res audio, MQA and spatial audio for the value of £19.99 / £19.99 / €19.99 a month.

New customers get the possibility of a one-month free trial, there’s a Household Plan that prices $14.99 / £14.99 / €14.99 a month, in addition to a Scholar Plan which provides 50% off Hello-Fi and Hello-Fi Plus subscriptions. The final one seems to be US-only.

Apple Music

Apple Music offers you entry to over 100 million songs and 30,000 playlists, ad-free. Hear on-line or off, throughout all of your gadgets, and listen to sound throughout in Spatial Audio with dynamic head monitoring. Now you can strive 1 month without spending a dime!

  • Apple
  • Get 1 month free
  • £10.99 p/m



By way of look, Apple Music makes use of a clear, white consumer interface that feels very a lot inside the Apple aesthetic. Principal sections within the app embody ‘Hear Now’ for lately performed music and proposals, ‘Browse’, ‘Library’, ‘Search’ and a separate ‘Radio’ button to entry the assorted radio stations the service provides.

How to see loved songs on Apple Music

Tidal, no less than in a visible sense, is the alternative with its black background. Relying on how you’re feeling about white or black backgrounds, you might discover it simpler to learn textual content on Tidal, however each work successfully. 

Tidal separates its content material into 5 tabs: Residence, Movies, Search, My Exercise and My Assortment. Like Apple Music, they’re positioned on the backside of the web page.

Tidal music curation in app

In any other case they’re related sufficient within the content material they provide with curated content material, personalised playlists, new music, prime 100 charts, and so forth. If there’s a selected level of distinction to notice, it’s that Apple provides voice integration with particular playlists which might be designed to work with Siri.


Each Tidal and Apple Music declare to supply over 100 million tracks of their library, and each are fairly related by way of the bit-rates they provide on their platforms.

Tidal can supply music in high quality as much as 24-bit/192kHz (or because it describes it, 9216 kbps), and Apple Music matches that with its Hello-Res Lossless library. The principle distinction right here is that Apple’s greater high quality music is obtainable inside one subscription, whereas with Tidal you need to pay further to get greater high quality audio with its Hello-Fi Plus tier.

Close up image of top half screen of an iPhone 12 displaying J Balvin Colores on Apple music
credit score: Apple

Apple Music has reside radio stations with its Music 1 station (previously Beats). Tidal doesn’t have any radio stations, but it surely does supply Reside classes that lets customers share music with one another.

Each supply spatial audio, with Apple branding its model as Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. Tidal additionally helps Dolby Atmos, in addition to Sony 360 Actuality Audio, which produces an analogous impact with its ‘3D’ audio.

Tidal and Dolby Atmos
credit score: Tidal

To proceed the similarities, each additionally function in depth video content material on their platforms; Tidal has video playlists and album experiences that include commentary from the artists, and you’ll watch reside classes too. Apple Music goes even additional with a 24/7 video station on sure gadgets, lyric movies, video interviews, Apple Music Classes Content material and Apple Music Reside, which showcases unique performances on the service.

Neither service has podcasts built-in into its providing, although Apple does have its personal separate Podcasts apps for customers to peruse.

Platform help 

By way of platform help, the winner is Tidal, however when you’re inside the iOS ecosystem Apple Music is the extra handy possibility.

Tidal is supported on iOS, Android, Mac and Home windows platforms, together with an internet participant. Tidal Join allows playback on quite a few hi-fi programs from Bluesound, Devialet, KEF, Moon by SimAudio and extra. You possibly can connect with gadgets with AirPlay 2, TVs are supported with Roku, Chromecast, Vizio, Hearth TV, Samsung TV, Android TV, and Apple TV.

Tidal Connect on MOON streaming products
credit score: Moon by SimAudio

You’ll find it in automobiles akin to Tesla, Mercedes Benz and Apple CarPlay, it’s supported by DJ functions in Denon DJ and DEX 3, together with Apple Watch and Samsung Dex wearables, and you’ll stream by way of Alexa (though this appears to be solely obtainable within the US). For extra platforms, head to this hyperlink.

Apple Music is, after all, supported on iOS gadgets akin to iPad, iPhone, CarPlay and HomePod. You possibly can stream to different gadgets by way of AirPlay, and it’s additionally on gaming consoles such because the PlayStation 5 and Xbox, good TVs and gadgets from Samsung, LG and Roku; and the app is suitable with Android, PC (by way of iTunes), Sonos, Amazon Echo, and Google Nest.


By way of the library and options, Apple Music and Tidal would look like evenly matched. They each help CD high quality, Hello-res lossless, and spatial audio; and each providers place the emphasis on supporting the music artist.

Apple is the cheaper of the 2 by a substantial quantity, however you additionally need to consider that Apple Music’s platform compatibility isn’t as vast. You’re getting the most effective integration inside the iOS ecosystem.

Each ship a top quality expertise and we discover it arduous to separate the 2. In the event you’re an iOS consumer then Apple Music might be the higher possibility, however for everybody else, Tidal is a superb different so long as you’re keen to pay extra for greater high quality audio.

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