We're big fans of Tidal, Jay-Z's music streaming service. As well as lossless and hi-res audio giving it a sonic superiority over Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal has consistently added new features to enhance the service, from HD videos to live concerts, tickets, downloads and more.
If you’ve subscribed to Tidal or are thinking of trying the free trial these tips, tricks and features will make sure you get the most from the service.
- Of course, other music streaming services are available. More of an Apple advocate? Check out our Apple Music tips, tricks and features. And there are plenty of hidden tips and tricks to enhance your Spotify listening experience, too.
1. Yes, there’s a free trial
First things first - yes, there is a free trial available. So it makes sense to eke out 30-days of the service for free. If you’re not sure if you want to start paying after your trial finishes, then set yourself a reminder to cancel your subscription before the trial ends.
2. Don’t sign up through the Apple App Store
If you do want to subscribe to the service, make sure you do so on the Tidal website and not directly on the iOS app. Tidal passes on Apple’s 30 per cent App Store fee, meaning you will pay extra if you sign up on Tidal’s Apple app on your iPhone or iPad. Sign up at Tidal.com, then download the app and login to your account.
3. It doesn’t have to cost £20/$20 per month
Contrary to some reports, Tidal doesn’t have to be more expensive than Spotify and the rest. Just like those services, Tidal offers a standard £10/$10-per-month music streaming service (in 320kbps AAC audio). The £20/$20 monthly service gives you access to the better audio quality streams. We'd absolutely recommend that you pay extra for the better CD-quality sound, but the choice is yours.
4. Family plans could save you money
Another way to keep the cost down is by signing-up to the Tidal Family Plan. This allows you to add extra people to your account, but for half the normal cost.
In the UK, up to four people can be added, costing £4.99 or £9.99 per month for the standard/hi-fi service (instead of £9.99/£19.99).
In the States, the Family Premium ($15/month) subscription gives six people use of the standard quality service. For double that monthly cost, Family HiFi offers six people lossless quality.
5. Get hi-fi sound...
If you have signed-up to the hi-fi quality subscription then make sure that you get the benefit of that better sound quality. On the desktop app, select ‘settings’ then ‘streaming’ and choose 'HiFi/Master'. On mobile it’s ‘settings’ and then ‘quality’ to adjust the sound.
6. ...and even hi-res audio
And yes, Tidal has now launched hi-res audio streams. Tidal Masters is available via the Tidal desktop app and iOS and Android mobile apps. It's not supported on web browser yet, though. As long as you're a £20/$20 per month subscriber, and have selected 'HiFi/Master', you will benefit from the hi-res streams where available.
7. Find hi-res audio tracks
But how to find that crystal clear high-resolution goodness? Go to What's Look for the Master Quality Audio Albums and Master Quality Audio Playlists, which should appear on your Home tab. You can also search for the excellent Masters Essentials playlists. All Masters tracks have an 'M' logo next to them.
8. Not all tracks are hi-fi quality
While the vast majority of tracks should be available as at least a lossless CD-quality stream, there is the odd gap. In the desktop and web players, the Tidal text at the bottom right of the window will appear bright white when it is streaming in the highest, lossless quality.
9. Streaming settings
You can also adjust your audio quality according to whether you're connected to wi-fi or 3G/4G. Streaming in hi-fi quality as opposed to the standard setting will use more of your mobile data, so you could opt to only stream at top quality when you’re connected to wi-fi.
10. Offline too
You also have the option to set the quality of your Tidal offline music downloads, and whether you download over wi-fi or 3G/4G. We'd suggest limiting it to wi-fi downloads but choosing the highest audio quality.
11. AirPlay is Desktop-only
Struggling with AirPlay on Tidal's web player? There's a reason for that - it can't be done. You will need to download the Tidal desktop client in order to stream over AirPlay.
Offline playback and playlists
12. Transfer playlists from other services
Tidal suggests you use soundiiz.com to convert any existing playlists you might have on other streaming services to a Tidal playlist. The website works well – and indeed for any playlist transfers between services – so the only issue will be if one service doesn’t have a certain track or the possibility of getting remixes/incorrect versions. We found around a 90 per cent success rate moving playlists from Spotify to Tidal.
13. Use offline playback
Be sure to make use of this function, which allows you to listen to tracks when you have no internet connection. This means if you’re out of network range or want to save your phone data, you still have some tracks saved to your device. Be sure to check the download audio quality settings before you start saving tracks.
14. Set a playlist to offline
You can easily download albums and singles to offline on the Tidal mobile app by toggling the offline button at the top of the release page. The desktop experience isn’t quite so simple, as offline is only available on mobile. One way to improve the experience across all the interfaces is to create a playlist, which you then set to offline. You can then add individual tracks and releases to this playlist from any Tidal interface, and all tracks added will automatically sync offline on the mobile app.
15. Multiple offline listening
We mentioned the Tidal Family Plan earlier but even using just one account you can have up to three different offline devices. All three can play music simultaneously. In addition, you can play music in Tidal on your PC or Mac simultaneously with your offline devices. Be sure to de-authorise old devices if you want to start saving offline music on a new phone or tablet.
16. Download to SD card
If you have a smartphone that allows you to expand the memory, then it's worth saving your offline music to an SD card in order to free-up your phone's memory. Head to Settings and you'll find 'Download Destination' - click on memory card instead of internal.
17. Scrobble to Last.fm
Do you want to get geeky about your music listening habits? Last.fm is still going strong as the best way to log your listening habits and see quite how many times you’ve listened to Wish You Were Here... Head to Settings and then Account to connect your Last.fm account (you’ll need one of those first). Hey presto, all your Tidal streams will be logged in Last.fm.
18. Connect to Facebook
Within Settings you'll find the option to connect to Facebook. As well as making it easier to share your music, it will also allow you to see any Tidal-subscribing friends' favourite tracks. And give them stick accordingly.
19. Share your music
Not a Facebook fan? Click on the three dots that appear at the top right of most screens on the Tidal mobile app and you'll find the option to share what you're listening to, whether that be a track, album or even a playlist. Everything from Email to Snapchat, Twitter to WhatsApp is here.
20. Social artists
You can also see what your favourite artists are up to on social media, directly through Tidal. Head to the artist page - simply searching by artist name is probably the quickest way - and them swipe left to the Social tab. This will give you access to the artist's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, assuming you've connected your own accounts.
21. Build a music library
If you want to replicate a real world music library that you can flick through, then the My Music tab is the place. This comprises all the music that you add as Favourites, plus any playlists you create. Hit the star on a playlist, album, track, video or artist to add it to your library and find it in My Music. The Playlists tab will also include lists you've made yourself, you can tap the eye icon at the top of the screen to filter your playlists.
22. Watch HD videos
Videos are an increasingly prominent part of the Tidal experience, from music videos to live shows and special features. The most mainstream-friendly content is front and centre in the Tidal mobile app - normally in the form of a Beyonce music video - but if you want to see what else is on offer, head to individual artist pages. Once on an artist page, swipe one tab along to see all of that artist's video content. You can Favourite videos and add them to playlists for repeat viewing, too.
23. Buy music downloads
Still a fan of downloads? You can buy music through Tidal, too. Head to the Tidal store to find a surprisingly large number of albums available to download in MP3 and FLAC formats, from Daft Punk to Prince to Radiohead.
24. Find new music
Tidal, much like Apple Music and Spotify, has its own editorial teams curating playlists and other content, as well as various guests who contribute their own playlists (such as What Hi-Fi?). So it's worth clicking through Tidal's playlists tab when you can't think of anything to play.
You'll find an eclectic selection, from 'Nordic Strut' to 'East of Nashville', '1957!' to 'Motown: The Samples', and the lists are updated on a fairly regularly basis. There's also Tidal Rising, which aims to shine a light on new and unsigned artists.
25. Take control
You can't really miss the Shuffle and Repeat buttons on Tidal, which are pretty self-explanatory, but tucked away in the Settings you'll also find a Crossfade option. If you don't want a moments silence between your tunes, whether it be a house party or a dinner party, then you can set tracks to fade into each other. Choose the length of fade between 1 and 12 seconds and briefly feel like a poor man's Pete Tong.