It can’t have escaped your notice that we’re fond of Tidal at What Hi-Fi?. The hi-res music streaming service beat the likes of Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer and Netflix to win the title of Product of the Year for the streaming category in the 2019 What Hi-Fi? Awards. But there’s a common question that pops up when people want to switch from Spotify to Tidal - how do you transfer your playlists and favourites?
It’s an especially prescient question right now, given the very tempting £5/$5 for 5 months Tidal deal - a great opportunity to audition what we feel is the best music streaming service out there right now.
Fortunately, it’s a relatively quick and painless process, but before we walk you through it, let’s outline why you might want to switch to Tidal in the first place.
Tidal five months subscription for £5/$5 (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)We love Tidal so much, we gave the streaming subscription a What Hi-Fi? 2019 Award – and that was at its original monthly price. Now just £5/$5 for five months, it's a no-brainer for the discerning music streamer.
Why switch to Tidal?
Tidal launched back in 2015 and in 2017 became the first music streaming service to offer offer hi-res audio when it adopted MQA technology. MQA or Master Quality Authenticated files can be packaged inside lossless containers, such as FLAC, and then streamed to the listener, typically at 24-bit/96kHz resolution. They're labelled as Masters on the Tidal platform.
Tidal claims to have over 170,000 Master tracks in its library at the time of writing, and you can enjoy them on any iOS or Android mobile, or through the Tidal desktop app. The catch is that these Masters are not available as part of the regular, £9.99/$9.99 Tidal Premium subscription. You’ll need to upgrade to Tidal HiFi, which comes in at £19.99/$19.99. (Discounts are available for students, members of the military, fire fighters, police officers, paramedics and more.)
Masters aren't actually the only reason to opt for Tidal HiFi, as it also give you access to ‘CD quality’ 16-bit/44.1kHz tracks, labelled HiFi within the app. These still make a great listen compared to the 320kbps Spotify streams.
Before you sign up to doubling your monthly spend on audio, though, it’s worth bearing in mind that playing Masters on a hi-fi can be a bit tricky as not all devices can handle the MQA format. You can find a list of Tidal supporting players here (opens in new tab) and more information on Tidal in our Tidal review.
How to transfer your playlists from Spotify to Tidal
Here we are then. You’ve made a great choice. Now comes the critical part: transferring your carefully curated playlists from Spotify to Tidal.
Thankfully, there are a handful of services that can help you transfer your Spotify music to Tidal. Some are paid-for and some are free. In our experience, the best of the free bunch is Tune My Music (opens in new tab), which is a web app that can transfer your playlists between a host of different music services.
Don’t cancel your Spotify subscription yet; make sure you’ve already started your Tidal account. Then all you need to do is head over to the Tune My Music website and follow the simple on-screen instructions. It took around an hour to transfer the 3,500 or so tracks in our test library, although it’s worth noting that we had to restart the process after it froze part-way through. Naturally, there were some tracks that the service was not able to match but, with a 60 million-strong catalogue on Tidal, it managed to replicate the lion’s share.
The only reason you might want to go for a paid-for transfer service instead is if you’re planning on using both Spotify and Tidal concurrently. If so, you might want a service that will keep your playlists in sync no matter which platform you edit them on. Of these services, Soundiiz (opens in new tab) is the pick of the crop. It costs £4.50/month (£3/month if paid annually) to keep everything synced.
So, now that you know how it’s done, you’ve got the perfect excuse to bag yourself a little me-time and make that giant leap for music-kind. Happy listening.