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Tidal drops its subscription price, with a few caveats

Tidal's $10.99 subscription may be good news to some, but the free tiers and discounts are gone.

Published onMarch 7, 2024

Tidal HiFi mobile app on a Google Pixel 3, which is resting on the underside of a backpack.
  • Tidal consolidates its HiFi and HiFi Plus subscriptions into one cost-effective plan priced at $10.99/month, including all of the perks, aside from the DJ integration feature, which will be an optional add-on for an additional fee.
  • The revamped subscription aims to stay competitive with Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, offering lossless audio at a similar price.
  • Military and first responder discounts and the free tier are being phased out as part of this restructuring.

Tidal, the music streaming service, is streamlining its subscription options to offer a unified, more affordable tier. Effective April 10th, this update merges the HiFi and HiFi Plus plans into a single tier named simply “Tidal.” The change aims to provide users with FLAC files and Dolby Atmos support, previously exclusive to the Plus plan, all for a monthly fee of $10.99.

Traditionally, Tidal’s HiFi tier offered 16-bit audio streaming at the same price point, while the HiFi Plus option, at $19.99 per month, granted access to superior 24-bit, 192 kHz streaming, including HiRes FLAC files and Dolby Atmos. The adjustment aligns Tidal’s offerings with competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, which have integrated lossless audio into their standard subscription packages.

However, the restructuring introduces certain limitations. Notably, subscribers who frequently utilize the DJ integration feature within the HiFi Plus tier will face an additional $9 monthly charge to maintain this functionality. Users can manually remove the DJ add-on from their account settings to avoid incurring extra fees.

The decision to revamp its subscription model comes as Tidal seeks to solidify its position in a market that has been lukewarm towards lossless music streaming. Despite its potential for providing superior audio quality, the format has not achieved the widespread adoption anticipated by industry insiders. By adjusting its pricing and features, Tidal could be preempting Spotify’s rumored foray into high-fidelity streaming to secure the loyalty of its existing customer base.

Moreover, Tidal is ending its military/first responder discounts and free tier, marking a clear shift to a purely paid subscription model. No more free access; all users must now subscribe to enjoy the service. While unfortunate for those who benefited from these discounts or wanted to try out the service with the free tier, this move appears to be Tidal’s strategy to ensure a steady income to maintain its offerings. Time will tell if it will pay off.