Consumers’ desire for high-quality audio will be further tested with Tidal, a music streaming service from Scandinavian company Aspiro, which launched today (Oct. 28) in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The format and the audio quality make Tidal stand out from competitors such as Spotify and Beats Music. It has more than 25 million audio tracks and 75,000 music videos in lossless FLAC and ALAC formats that deliver better sound than “lossy” compression like MP3 and AAC. The service is available for iOS and Android devices, web browsers and home music network players. This advertising-free subscription costs $19.99/£19.99 per month.
Tidal is a retooled version of Scandinavian music streaming service WiMP HiFi, the high-quality music streaming service of Aspiro Music. Nearly unknown outside in the U.S and U.K., Aspiro could grow well beyond the 580,000 WiMP subscribers and 17,000 WiMP HiFi subscribers it had at the end of June. Aspiro is hoping its home audio partnerships — with Sonos, Denon HEOS, Harman Omni and many more — will help it reach “millions of potential new customers” in the 50-plus markets covered in its Tidal licensing agreements.
Tidal isn’t the first high-quality streaming service in the United States. Deezer Elite, launched in September, also offers lossless streaming at a premium price. But high-quality audio streaming is a rarity. Most music streaming services top out at 320kbps, less than a quarter of the 1,411kbps of lossless files, and often stream at a lower quality.
Consumers have shown a desire for better audio quality where headphones are concerned. Whether or not significant numbers of them will pay for high-quality audio streaming has yet to be determined. Tidal may not take over Spotify in the U.S. and U.K. but it could give Aspiro a foothold in those two large markets.