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Spotify has a new rival - a lossless music streaming service called Tidal

Tidal will launch in the UK and US later this year

Update: Tidal has launched with a free trial. Read our Tidal review

There's a new music streaming service in town, it's called Tidal and it's packing a secret weapon.

Instead of serving up compressed MP3, AAC or OGG files, Tidal streams CD-quality FLAC files that offer many times the bitrate of most other music services.

When Tidal launches in the US and UK in the next month or so, it will boast more than 25 million lossless FLAC tracks, all encoded at 44.1kHz / 16 bit / 1411 kbps and you'll be able to stream them over the internet as well as download them for offline listening.

By comparison, Spotify's maximum quality (which was not its default setting last time I checked), tops out at 320kbps in the OGG format.

Tidal will be available on mobiles in the form of iOS or Android apps as well as on PCs and Macs as a browser-based web player - so expect it to function similarly to existing services.

Subscribers will also get access to 75,000 HD music videos and exclusive editorial, curated around new and important releases to help you discover new bands.


Twice the bitrate will cost you... twice as much money

Tidal is effectively a US-UK repackaging of WiMP Music, another Swedesh service similar to Spotify that also offers a premium FLAC service - it's only available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Poland.

The service comes at a price, costing twice as much as rival streaming services like Spotify and Deezer. In the UK that means a subscription of £19.99 per month and in the US a price of $19.99.

"Tidal reflects our mission to deliver the highest quality music streaming service," said Tidal CEO Andy Chen.

"From making sure there's no loss in sound quality to telling the stories behind the creation of the music, we aim to maximise the listening experience. We are catering to people who really appreciate the quality things in life, whether that is music, sound or lifestyle, because quality should not be compromised and because music fans now demand more from their music service."

As fast as the music streaming business has matured, there is surely a gap in the market developing at the high end. Storage capacities are increasing and network connections are speeding up, meaning lossless CD-quality music is becoming a feasible reality rather than a distant pipedream.

Tidal will, of course, face competition from Neil Young and his PonoMusic service that's expected to launch alongside the PonoPlayer later this year, as well as big names like Sony who just launched another high-res Walkman - the A17.

So would you pay £20/$20 for a lossless music service? Let us know, and we'll bring you a review of Tidal in due course.

James Rivington

James has been working with TechRadar for over 12 years and is now the Global Editor-in-Chief of eCommerce at TR and its sister sites including PC Gamer and That means he looks after buying guides and deals pages as well as all of the nifty price comparison tools we use to help readers find the best deals on the coolest products.