When I was a kid growing up I was an avid reader. The school library in the small town I grew up in had a fairly limited selection. The first time I went to to the main public library, I remember having this great feeling of an endless selection of books to choose from. Fast forward many decades (way too many to admit) and I get the same feeling every time I log into Tidal. It’s like I am in a never ending room with walls and walls full of CDs – all perfectly organized! You may be asking: “What is Tidal?” Well, it’s a great new music service offering CD quality streaming and a seemingly endless selection of music. At last count, they had close to 40,000,000 albums to choose from!
I think streaming services like Tidal may spell the end of the physical CD. For just $20 per month you can enter the name of a favorite artist and in most cases have their entire discography available at your fingertips. That is such a great feeling! From there you can see related artists, play an artist’s radio station, build and manage your own playlists and even share playlists with your friends. While these things are not unique to Tidal, what is unique is their huge selection of music choices provided with full CD resolution streaming.
Now that I’ve piqued your interest, I bet you want to know how to get the sound and selection of Tidal into your music system! Well, there are many options. Sonos (de facto the standard for streaming music services) offers Tidal on their products. You can use it with your Sonos components or connect the digital out from your Sonos Zone Player to your receiver for improved audio (in most cases). If you have an external USB DAC, simply start Tidal up on your computer and you are all set. If you are lucky enough to own one of the great Naim streaming units, Tidal will be coming soon on their app.
Another Tidal feature set I like is similar to what Spotify offers. Spotify has a new release section where you can scan through new music releases of the last few days. Not only does Tidal have this, but it adds ‘Discovery’ and ‘Rising’ categories which let you learn about great artists not getting much press and artists that are unknown but getting a lot of play on Tidal.
I suspect competition in the streaming music world will become very interesting. Spotify is rumored to be offering CD quality streaming soon and there are noises of other services coming that will have streaming beyond CD quality. The good news is – competition will make them all improve. Unlike your cable or land line phone service, you are not limited to a single provider. Also, none of them have long term contracts, so you can cancel and try another music service whenever you want. The main thing they all have that makes them somewhat “sticky” is your custom playlist(s). If you have spent a ton of time making lots of playlists, you may be hesitant to switch. With luck, competition will keep them all pushing the bar up on your music experience.
If you’ve got questions about how to get started with music streaming, our staff of experts in our Raleigh or Charlotte stores are more than happy to help you out. One thing is for sure, with services like Tidal where you can explore and control what is playing, you will find yourself listening to way more music than ever before!