My Week with TIDAL
My first experience with an online streaming service was decidedly sub-par. | tidal.com
We need to get one thing straight here. I absolutely hate streaming services. No exceptions. No mercy. There was absolutely no reason why I was ever going to cave on this issue, until Kanye dropped “The Life of Pablo” on TIDAL. TIDAL. I was devastated. I knew Kanye was still tweaking stuff, so stealing the record was not an option. By making the album a TIDAL exclusive, Kanye officially had free reign to change whatever he wanted, and my obsessive fanboy tendencies would never let me get away with listening to an unfinished version of the album.
worth it in my mind
And so I sold out and signed up for a free 30-day trial. Or, at least I thought it was free. I ended up getting charged for one month of service because I signed up for the student pricing option, just in case I decided to keep it around. TIDAL graciously informed me that by signing up for this pricing option, I forfeited my right to the free trial, even though that disclaimer was nowhere to be found. Still, 10 dollars to listen to “The Life of Pablo” for a month was worth it in my mind.
half-baked streaming service
But 10 dollars a month to continue using a half-baked streaming service after my not-so-free trial ended? Not even. One of my biggest problems with these services is the lack of music actually available to me. I am a collector: I want b-sides, I want live sessions, I want demos. I meticulously scour the Internet for these things, and to a certain degree I understand why they are not there. But TIDAL excludes certain albums that are just inexcusable. I tried to listen to a Pavement album. Not there. None of them were there. I tried to listen to “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre. Not there. I tried to listen to “Valtari” by Sigur Ros. Not there.
The whole point of using these services is to connect me with the music I want to listen to, not make me search YouTube for classic records everyone should have access to. Does TIDAL do a better job of royalty distribution than Spotify does? Sure. However anyone who knows me knows I buy every vinyl record I can afford, and get tickets for every tour I can. Personally, I financially support the music I care about, at least enough to justify not paying for a streaming service.
lossless streaming quality
TIDAL does have one thing going for it — lossless streaming quality. Seriously, the HIFI streaming option is absolutely blissful. If you have high quality over ear headphones that allow you to tell the difference, it is certainly a blast to listen to dense records like “Pornography” by The Cure and pick up on nuances you would not have heard otherwise. But if this is all TIDAL can offer me, I will stick with curating my own library and using up way too much hard drive space on my computer.