Tidal’s subscription is getting simpler and cheaper — yes, you read that right

The Verge

Tidal seems to have decided that there just aren’t enough people willing to pay upward of $20 per month for the highest-possible audio fidelity. So starting April 10th in the US, the company will combine its existing HiFi and HiFi Plus plans into a single subscription tier that will simply be called “Tidal.” And it’ll cost the same $10.99 per month that the less expensive HiFi plan did.

At a high level, it sounds like this new, much simpler subscription model will still include all the perks — high-res FLACs, Dolby Atmos mixes, etc. — that were previously only available on the Plus tier. Yes, that means a subscription service is actually getting cheaper for once if you were a HiFi Plus user. Hard to believe in this day and age, right? Existing customers will automatically be switched over to the Tidal tier in April. But there are a few important things to be aware of.

For one, the company notes that anyone who has used the app’s DJ integration feature “within the last 90 days” will be charged an extra $9 each month unless they adjust their subscription to remove the DJ extension. If you forget to do that, you’ll still be paying the same $19.99 that HiFi Plus cost. The upcharge isn’t going over so well with some people who actually took advantage of those DJ integrations.

Student plans will stay at the current rate of $4.99 per month, but Tidal is completely doing away with its military / first responder discount and will remove the promotional pricing for current customers as of June 10th. Tidal Free is also going away for good. “Starting April 10, 2024, users who were on the Tidal Free tier will need to switch to a paid Tidal subscription to continue enjoying Tidal’s services,” the company wrote on its support page detailing these changes.

Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited both include lossless music quality as part of their baseline premium subscriptions, which are priced at the exact same $10.99 monthly. Now Tidal is caving and throwing in its large catalog of high-res tracks without demanding extra money on top.

Spotify still lacks lossless streaming three years after promising it. With this move, Tidal could be trying to head off an eventual rollout of the rumored “Supremium” Spotify plan and avoid potential subscriber losses. Either way, it’s an attempt to remain competitive in the streaming music landscape — or at least to stay relevant. Tidal laid off 10 percent of its staff in December amid other cuts at parent company Block.