Tidal Is Free Now. So, What's the Catch?

For the first time ever, Tidal has a ad-supported streaming tier that allows you to listen to music for free.

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The landscape of lossless streaming is changing — largely because Apple Music announced a lossless tier that costs just $10/month, which is roughly half what legacy lossless streaming services were charging. Now arguably its biggest player, Tidal, is changing along with it. That's because for the first time since its launch in 2015, Tidal has announced an ad-sponsored tier called Tidal Free. That's right, you can now stream Tidal for free.

There's a big catch to this free service, of course, and that's that it doesn't let you to listen to lossless tracks. In addition to having to put up with hearing ads, the max audio quality for tracks on Tidal Free is 160kbps, which is far-cry from lossless audio (1,411 kbps) and it's actually about half the audio quality of a typical audio track from Spotify (if you have a Premium subscription), which are normally 320 kbps.

The more important change is happening to Tidal HiFi, the streaming service's lossless tier that lets you listen to more than 80 million tracks in lossless CD quality sound (up to 1411kbps). This streaming tier used to cost $20/month, but now it's being cut in half — you can now subscribe to Tidal HiFi for just $10/month, which is exactly the same as a subscription to Apple Music.

If you want to listen to even higher-quality audio tracks, including Master Quality Authenticated tracks (up to 24bit/96kHz) and tracks that support immersive audio technologies, like Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Audio, Tidal has announced a third tier that costs $20/month.

If you want to try a subscription to Tidal HiFi, the company is offering a 30-day free trial for new subscribers.

You can check out the three tiers of Tidal below:

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