Comparing Digital Streaming Services Tidal vs Spotify vs Apple Music

Modern music streaming services open up a world of possibilities, making it easy and quick for you to dive into the music of your favorite artists. That’s not all. The sound quality has reached new heights, especially on top-tier services that now offer three-dimensional audio and lossless options without any extra cost.

The best part yet, you can listen to your favorite songs whenever and wherever you want. This shift has not only changed how we listen to music but has also how musicians connect with their fans. We’ve put the major music streaming services to the test by comparing their features in detail so you can make an informed choice based on what matters most to you.

Tidal vs Spotify vs Apple Music

Tidal vs Spotify vs Apple Music

TidalSpotifyApple Music
Music Library100+100+100+
Audio QualityHiFi and Master quality options for audiophilesHigh quality (320 kbps Ogg Vorbis)High quality (256 kbps AAC)
Pricing Plans(Per Month)Up to $16.99, including HiFi and Family optionsFree (ad-supported), Premium ($10.99), Family ($16.99, Student ($5.99), and Duo ($14.99) plansIndividual ($10.90), Family ($16.99), and Student( $5.99) plans
Free TierLimited access with adsAd-supported with limitationsNo free tier
Exclusive ContentSome exclusive content, particularly in the form of albums and videosLimited exclusive content and early releasesLimited exclusive content and early releases
PodcastsLimited podcast offeringsExtensive podcast libraryExtensive podcast library
Offline ListeningAvailable with subscription plansAvailable with Premium and Family plansAvailable with all subscription plans
Platform CompatibilityApps for various platforms, including iOS, Android, and desktopWide compatibility with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and webApps for iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS
Trial Period30-day free trial30-day free trial3-month free trial for individual plans

Looking at the comparison above, it might seem that all the three music streaming services are alike- each is priced at approximately $10 per month and boasts millions of tracks. However, if you’re looking to get the most out of the streaming services, you may want to take a close look at the features each service brings to the table.


Tidal is a subscription-based music streaming service that offers high-fidelity sound quality, exclusive content, and other features. It was launched in 2014 by a group of artists, including Jay-Z, who acquired the parent company Aspiro. Tidal distinguishes itself from other streaming platforms by providing lossless audio and high-definition music videos aiming to deliver a superior listening experience for audiophiles.


High Sound Quality

Tidal emphasizes high-fidelity sound quality by offering a resolution of 16-bit and a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. This is considered standard CD quality and provides a better audio experience compared to cheap streaming services.

HiFi Plus

Tidal HiFi Plus is a premium subscription tier designed to appeal to audiophiles and individuals who prioritize superior sound quality. With HiFi Plus, subscribers can enjoy maximum sound quality, supporting up to 24-bit and 192 kHz resolution. This tier includes various high-resolution audio formats, such as HiRes FLAC, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, FLAC, and MQA.

Extensive Music and Video Library

Tidal boasts a vast catalog of over 100 million songs and 650,000 music videos. The expansive library aims to cater to a wide range of musical preferences and offers a diverse selection of content.


Tidal, unlike many premium streaming services, is ad-free. Subscribers can enjoy their music and video content without interruptions from advertisements.

Listen Offline with Unlimited Skips

Tidal allows users to download music for offline listening. This provision is convenient for situations where an internet connection is unavailable. Additionally, the service allows unlimited skips within playlists and radio stations.

Live on Tidal

Live on Tidal gives users access to exclusive, real-time events that they can enjoy instantly. The live events may include performances, interviews, and other interactive experiences.

Social Sharing

Tidal offers social features that allow users to listen to music together in real time or engage in collaborative playlists. With these features, users can track their listening habits, create personalized playlists, and share their favorite music with others on social media platforms.

TIDAL Connect

Tidal Connect is a feature that allows users to stream music from the Tidal app to supported devices like speakers, soundbars, and other audio equipment. This feature is designed to enhance the flexibility of how and where users can enjoy their music.

Expert Curated Playlists

Tidal often offers curated playlists created by music experts, artists, and influencers. These playlists are designed to showcase a selection of songs based on various themes, moods, or genres.

Exclusive Content and Artist Collaborations

Tidal’s focus on exclusive releases, early access to content, and artist collaborations provides subscribers with a platform that goes beyond a standard music streaming service. This, in turn, offers a more personalized and unique musical experience.

  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Seamless streaming
  • Social and real-time interaction
  • Uninterrupted listening
  • Offline listening with high-quality downloads
  • Limited offline storage
  • Catalog limitations compared to premium streaming services
  • Less intuitive mobile apps and web player


Spotify is a popular music streaming service that provides users with access to a vast library of songs, podcasts, and other audio content. It was founded in 2006 in Sweden and has since become one of the leading music streaming platforms globally. Spotify offers both free and premium subscription options, which allow users to listen to music on-demand, create playlists, and discover new content.


Rich Music Library

Spotify has a vast catalog of millions of songs, with over 100 million tracks covering a wide range of genres. Spotify library serves as a central hub for liked songs, playlists, podcasts, albums and artists, recently played, downloads, and local files.

Personalized Playlists

Spotify offers a variety of personalized playlists that are curated based on users’ listening habits and preferences. The platform uses algorithms to analyze user’s music history, likes, and dislikes to create a customized listening experience. Some of the popular personalized playlists include Discover Weekly, Release Radar, On Repeat, and Daily Mixes.


In addition to music, Spotify hosts a diverse selection of podcasts, audiobooks, and other spoken-word content. Spotify also offers tools for podcasters to create and distribute their original content through the Spotify for Podcasters program.

Spotify Free

Spotify Free is a no-cost option that relies on intermittent advertisements to support its service. This plan offers users access to a vast music library, but it comes with certain restrictions. For instance, free users can only shuffle songs from albums, playlists, or radio stations, but cannot select and play specific songs on demand. Offline listening is also not available for free users, but they can still use Spotify Connect to stream music to other speakers over Wi-Fi.

Premium Tiers

The premium subscription offers adds-free listening, offline listening, higher audio quality, and additional features. Premium users have the freedom to play any song, album, playlist, or radio station on demand. Moreover, Premium subscribers can download music for offline listening.

With higher audio quality, tracks play at up to 320Kbps, which surpasses the quality of close competition. As part of Premium tier, Spotify offers a family plan, accommodating up to six accounts, each with its own personalized experience.

Social Sharing

Spotify allows users to share their favorite music and playlists with friends through social media platforms. It also allows collaborative playlist creation which enables multiple users to contribute to a single playlist.

Offline Listening

As mentioned, premium users can download individual songs, albums, playlists, and podcasts directly to their devices. To access downloaded content offline, users need to activate “Offline Mode” within the Spotify app. This mode disables internet access and allows users to play only the content they have downloaded.

  • Cross-platform availability
  • User-friendly interface
  • Offline listening is a plus
  • Spotify Connect facilitates easy music streaming across different devices
  • Interruptions for free users due to intermittent ads
  • Users face device limits for offline content
  • Some users find the interface less straightforward

Apple Music

Apple Music is a subscription-based music streaming service developed by Apple Inc. It was launched on June 30, 2015, as part of Apple’s ecosystem of products and services. Apple Music allows users to access a vast library of songs, albums, and playlists from various genres, plus it offers additional features beyond basic music streaming.


Music Library

Apple Music offers access to over 100 million songs and 30,000 playlists. The extensive music collection ensures that subscribers have access to a wide range of music, from popular hits to niche genres and independent artists.

Ad-Free Experience

Apple Music offers premium subscription tiers, which allow users to enjoy their favorite songs, albums, and playlists without any interruptions from advertisements. This plan caters to users who prioritize a continuous and uninterrupted listening session.

Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos

Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is integrated into Apple Music to provide users with a three-dimensional and immersive sound experience. This results in a more detailed and nuanced representation of the music.

Offline Streaming

Apple Music’s offline listening feature is available on compatible devices, including iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Macs, and Windows PCs. Users can download their favorite music content and listen to it in areas with limited connectivity.

Lossless Audio Quality

Apple Music offers a premium audio experience through its Lossless Audio quality. Lossless Audio is characterized by a higher bitrate, which results in a more accurate and detailed reproduction of the original recording. It offers the world’s largest classical music catalog with up to 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless quality.

Live Radio Shows and Podcasts

Apple Music enhances its platform with live radio shows featuring exclusive content, artist interviews, and live performances. Additionally, it offers access to integrated podcasts and a diverse range of audio content, all within the Apple Music app.

Curated Playlists

Apple Music’s Personalized Library allows users to curate their favorite songs, albums, playlists, and artists according to their liking. Users receive automatic notifications for new releases from added artists, plus they can access their library across devices.

Apple Music Sing

Apple Music Sing is a feature designed to enhance the interactive and fun aspect of singing along to your favorite songs. The idea behind this feature is to add a playful dimension to music enjoyment.

CarPlay Integration

Apple Music seamlessly integrates with CarPlay to allow users to access their favorite music while driving. Once connected, users can easily access Apple Music directly from the CarPlay interface.

Collaborative Playlists

Apple Music Collaborative Playlists enable users to create playlists together to allow for collaborative curation, addition, removal, and reordering of songs. This provision helps to foster a social music experience and encourage interactions.

Music Live Concert Series

Apple Music includes a Live Concert Series which offers exclusive and real-time performances. This means you can watch exclusive live performances or those recorded in real time.

  • Seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem
  • Offline listening capability for downloaded songs
  • Curated playlists and radio stations for personalized music discovery
  • Family sharing plan for cost-effective subscription sharing
  • Most users find the monthly subscription cost to be relatively high
  • Does not include free tiers
  • Limited compatibility with non-Apple devices

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Streaming Service

Choosing the best streaming service requires careful consideration of various factors, but the principal consideration is the monthly subscription. When it comes to pricing plans, you’ll need to determine how the cost aligns with your budget and whether the features included in each plan justify the expense.

If audio quality is paramount, Tidal stands out with its HiFi and Master quality options, making it a preferred choice for audiophiles. Conversely, both Spotify and Apple Music cater to those seeking a vast and diverse music library, with Spotify earning acclaim for its extensive playlists.

When selecting a streaming service the availability of high-quality audio formats can be a significant factor in the decision-making process. Tidal offers features such as lossless audio and Dolby Atmos music to provide a higher-fidelity listening experience. It also offers exclusive early releases and unique content, making it an attractive option for users looking for something beyond the mainstream.

You may also want to consider whether the streaming service allows you to download content for offline playback. This feature is particularly valuable for users who want to enjoy music without relying on an internet connection. Users should also consider the storage capacity allowed for offline downloads, especially if they have limited device storage.

For podcast enthusiasts, Spotify shines with a user-friendly interface designed specifically for podcast discovery. Apple Music also caters to the podcast community, boasting a diverse range of shows that cater to various interests. Conversely, Tidal is primarily recognized for its commitment to high-fidelity music streaming with a relatively modest emphasis on podcasts.

The availability of social features can enhance the overall music experience. Spotify, with its collaborative playlists and sharing options, is often a solid choice for those looking to enjoy a more interactive and communal approach to music.

You may also want to check for compatibility with other apps, smart speakers, and devices to ensure a seamless integration into your daily life. For instance, Spotify is widely supported by third-party apps and devices, while Apple Music integrates well with Apple’s ecosystem.

Consider the data usage associated with each service, especially if you have limited data. Additionally, evaluate the streaming quality options to ensure they align with your preferences. Also, you may want to stay informed about updates and any new features that the streaming services may introduce to enhance your streaming experience.

Finally, take advantage of trial periods offered by each service before committing. Personal preferences and habits play a significant role, and hands-on experience will help you determine the service that aligns best with your specific needs.

Final Words

When it comes to picking a streaming service, perfection might be a stretch, but Spotify comes pretty close. For just about $10 a month, Spotify gives you a massive collection of tunes and a bunch of cool streaming features and podcasts. Tidal and Apple Music are solid too, but Spotify has a little something extra, especially if you’re rocking an Android device. But here’s the thing- no matter which service you go for, you can rest assured that you’re getting a bang for your buck.

Avatar for Jamie K. Martin

Jamie K. Martin holds a degree in Audio engineering from Husson University, Bangor. Martin spends most of his time testing and trying the technology he writes about to ensure that he provides first-hand information to our customers from all walks of life.

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