It comes off as no surprise that TIDAL does take its audio quality pretty seriously and they are the only streaming platform to offer high fidelity audio on the go – at least in Malaysia for now. But that said, recently every single user (like myself) have been upgraded to TIDAL HiFi Plus which is their new plan which kind of replaces the previous premium plan but what changes does it bring to the table?
To get it out of the way, the TIDAL HiFi Plus will get essentially everything that’s being offered in the normal HiFi plan which is cheaper – that means you get access to HiFi sound quality, offline listening capabilities, access to TIDAL Connect and My Activity. But it doesn’t end there. One of the benefits of having the HiFi Plus plan is that you do get MQA – Master Quality Authenticated music which means listening to original master recordings as files which is more easier to download and stream over your mobile connectivity.
Oh and, TIDAL also has support for immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Audio Recordings. Funny enough you might wonder, these are features that I used to get on the previous non-Plus plan. You are right. Then what changed?
What’s New: Fan Centered Royalties and Direct-to-artist payments
TIDAL HiFi Plus will be featuring monthly direct-to-artist payments. This particular program will give the artists access to an additional payment stream, so they will be benefiting directly from their avid fans on TIDAL. So, every month, there is a calculated percentage (10%) of your HiFi Plus membership fees will be directed to the top streamed artist which they can see in their activity feed.
Now, you might wonder if this is replacing streaming royalties, and the answer is no as Direct-to-artist payments happen along with the usual streaming royalties.
Fan Centered Royalties on the other hand is their new royalty model. Instead of the older model where streams are aggregated and then royalties are paid, with the new model, the royalties that’s attributed to HiFi Plus users won’t be aggregated but royalties will be paid based on the actual streaming activity of every individual HiFi Plus subscribers.
So, this means, more directed support from fans who actually pay a bigger role to an artist’s success. This is exclusive to HiFi Plus plan, and it won’t be available on the TIDAL HiFi.
There’s now a TIDAL Free plan too, but there’s a catch
For the first time, TIDAL has finally announced a TIDAL Free plan, which has never existed before. This plan works just like how Spotify Free works – where users get access to the entire catalog of music but has limitations like the streaming quality maxes out at 160kbps and assuming there might be ads interruption too. But unfortunately, the plan is exclusive to US only.
So, will you be subscribing to the HiFi Plus to support your favorite artists while you listen to some good music quality? Honestly, I was expecting to see TIDAL finally allowing users on desktop to download music offline but looks like that’s never going to happen. But one can dream.