TIDAL isn’t new and it has been around for quite a while now. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the music streaming service, here’s some history.
TIDAL is a subscription-based music streaming service that combines lossless audio and high definition music videos with curated editorial. The service has over 25 million tracks and 85,000 music videos. Tidal claims to pay the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market. Tidal offers two digital music streaming services: Tidal Premium (lossy quality) and Tidal HiFi (lossless CD quality – FLAC-based 16-Bit/44.1 kHz). Tidal was launched in 2014 by Norwegian/Swedish public company Aspiro. It has distribution agreements with all of the three major labels, in addition to many indies. In the first quarter of 2015, the parent company Aspiro was acquired by Project Panther Ltd., which was dissolved on August 2, 2016 which was owned by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter. Following the acquisition of Aspiro by Jay Z in March 2015, a mass-marketing campaign was introduced to relaunch Tidal.
And that marketing campaign has worked even though there are rumours that the financial situation of TIDAL isn’t the strongest. I wasn’t one of the first to jump on the streaming wagon as my full music collection was digitized already but then I got a voucher for a 3-month HIFI trial and things started changing. I installed it on my laptop and mobile phone but I still wasn’t using it too much but when I downloaded TIDAL to my Android driven Cayin i5 and Fiio X7 DAP I was using for review, I started using the Hifi streaming service more and more when I had access to wifi. I would say I was using Tidal 40% of my listening time but my own collection still had the upper hand. A while ago both Nathan and I declared our love for the AK70 and that mini DAP together with the AK380 are the DAPs I mostly go to for my personal listening. But of course there was no TIDAL on any of the Astell&Kern units and that sucked.
TIDAL on Astell&Kern is something the TIDAL and AK users had been asking for a very long time but for an even longer time all AK said was: “We’re working on it”. Then a few weeks ago things started to become a lot more actual and when Alex announced they were in the final stage of testing TIDAL on their players, it was only a question of weeks before a new firmware was released. That finally happened last week right after AK announced Tidal at RMAF and the OTA update for AK users was rolled out last Thursday for AK70 and AK380 users, even though it should be available for all AK3XX users.
The AK70 and AK380 already are extremely good DAPs but the addition of TIDAL has made them even more valuable. TIDAL on AK is easy to use, looks good, works fast and it doesn’t require you to carry MicroSD cards with you to listen to your favourite music. Ever since my AKs have TIDAL I haven’t even played songs from the external memory, it’s that easy and simple. Of course not all my albums can be found on TIDAL and I’ll be using my own library as well but all in all I think I’ll be streaming most of the time when connected to the internet.
Is TIDAL on AK perfect? Not yet. It doesn’t allow any offline content, I have had some streaming hiccups and I haven’t gotten full gapless to work. But all in all, I and a whole lot of TIDAL users, are very happy that TIDAL now finally is available on Astell&Kern