Tidal launches a free streaming tier, splits HiFi offerings into two

Subscription-based music streaming service Tidal has revamped its membership offerings, adding a free tier and splitting its HiFi catalog into two. For most, the standard HiFi tier should suffice in terms of quality. Unless you have an audio system capable of conveying the subtleties that the Plus tier can deliver, there’s really no sense in paying extra for it.

Tidal’s new free tier, available from today to listeners in the US, grants access to the company’s entire catalog of over 80 million songs and playlists “with limited interruptions.” Streaming quality is limited to 160 kbps, however, which Tidal says is a good compromise between data usage and sound fidelity.

For those interested in higher quality content, Square-owned Tidal now offers two paid tiers. The HiFi tier, priced at $9.99 per month, delivers tunes using the lossless format FLAC and tops out at 1411 kbps. This tier does away with ads entirely, and allows for offline listening with unlimited skips.

The HiFi Plus tier, meanwhile, commands $19.99 per month in exchange for access to Master Quality audio, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio and HiFi at up to 9216 kbps.

All three tiers have access to the same library of songs, and Tidal said it plans to extend the free tier to other markets in the future. A free 30-day trial accompanies the paid plans, so you can try them out for a month before committing financially. There’s also an import feature to help transfer your playlists from other services to Tidal.