Tidal CEO confirms hi-res FLAC roll-out – and drops hint on MQA support

Tidal CEO details hi-res FLAC roll-out timeline – and it’s great news
(Image credit: Tidal)

Following the announcement in April that Tidal would be adding hi-res FLAC streams to its catalogue, the music streaming service’s CEO has now confirmed the roll-out has begun.

Jesse Dorogusker took to Reddit to confirm that streams in FLAC – an open-source format – in up to 24-bit/192kHz quality are now available to Tidal’s Early Access Program (EAP) users on iOS. If that is you, simply update your beta app and select 'Max' quality in the new ‘Audio & Playback’ settings.

But if you aren’t part of the program, don’t fret – availability for other HiFi Plus subscribers isn’t far behind, with Dorogusker stating that it’ll be added for “all HiFi Plus users in August”. As close as five weeks away, then.

Dorogusker said the service currently has “over six million tracks” available in hi-res FLAC and is “actively working with distributors, labels, and artists to add more content in this format every day”. So, presumably by August, that figure will have increased. Amazon’s hi-res Music HD service has 'over seven million' hi-res FLAC songs.

Tidal already has over 100 million CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) FLAC streams in its library for its HiFi and HiFi Plus subscribers to enjoy, so this expansion of FLAC support into the hi-res realm will logically round out its catalogue and make its hi-res tier more accessible than ever before.

Dorogusker's latest statement doesn't give a specific update on Tidal’s current MQA-powered streams – which have seen the service offer a hi-res audio streaming option to subscribers since 2017 – but in line with his previous announcement, he reiterated that it will “continue to support multiple formats to make sure we have as much hi-res content as possible”. So no change there, then – MQA technology will continue to be supported (if it does indeed continue to exist following the recent news that it has entered administration). Dorogusker did, however, state that Tidal is “choosing FLAC as our preferred format for high-resolution audio”.

The CEO has promised to give an update next month on “how the beta is going”, plus “some insight on additional changes we’re looking to make”, so Tidal subscribers could have more (or improved) features to look forward to. 

The full statement from Jesse Dorogusker is below:

"HiFi Plus subscribers have always had access to our highest-resolution audio, and now we are offering hi-resolution content in FLAC format, up to 24-bit, 192kHz. Try it now by updating your beta app, and selecting "Max" quality in the new Audio & Playback settings screen. We appreciate your excitement and want to hear from you before rolling it out more broadly.

"We’re choosing FLAC as our preferred format for high-resolution audio, and we’ll continue to support multiple formats to make sure we have as much hi-res content as possible. It’s open source, allowing greater access for artists and fans, and aligns with TIDAL’s support for open platforms. Pairing accessibility with best-in-class audio quality directly aligns with our purpose of empowering artists to run thriving businesses in the economy. 

"Starting today, there are over 6 million tracks available to stream in HiRes FLAC. We're actively working with distributors, labels, and artists to add more content in this format every day.

"I’ll be back next month to share more on how the beta is going, plus give some insight into additional changes we’re looking to make. And don’t worry, if you aren’t a part of our EAP, you’ll be able to experience HiRes FLAC soon — we’re going to be adding it for all HiFi Plus users in August."


Meanwhile, we're still waiting for CD-quality Spotify Hi-Fi streaming

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Hi-res music streaming services compared: which should you subscribe to?

High-resolution audio: everything you need to know

MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC: all the audio file formats explained

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.