More bits for your beats

With Tidal, Sonos adds its second HD music service

HD music subscription service Tidal launched on Sonos Friday: Tidal is now available to Sonos owners in the U.S. and Canada, and the company announced that it plans to launch in the U.K. soon.

Tidal’s catalog offers access to more than 25 million tracks from all major labels, as well as 75,000 music videos, which Tidal subscribers can access on the web as well as through the company’s iOS and Android apps. Tidal is offering its HD streams in the open source FLAC audio format, as well as Apple’s own ALAC format, as 44.1kHz / 16 bit recordings with a bitrate of 1411 kbps. Those extra bits will also cost a bit more: With a monthly fee of $19.99, Tidal is twice as expensive as your regular Spotify subscription.

With Spotify being the undisputed streaming music market leader, HD music increasingly is becoming a differentiating feature for anyone trying to carve out a lucrative niche — and the kind of people who spend money on something like Sonos speakers seem like a really good target audience.

That’s why Deezer already launched its HD streaming tier exclusively on Sonos earlier this year. Just like Tidal, Deezer is charging consumers extra for high bitrates, albeit a bit less. Deezer Elite, as the tier is called, is costing $14.99 per month.

With CES coming up in January, one should expect more such HD audio announcements, both from services as well as connected speaker manufacturers. These services will directly compete with companies like Pono, which is trying to get consumers to buy its own hardware, as well as individual downloads.

2 Responses to “With Tidal, Sonos adds its second HD music service”

  1. HD streams on Pandora should be an additional $25 a month. What is taking so long for Pandora to get with it? Pandora streams on my Sonos Play 3 sounds compressed. Almost any MP3 sounds better than the stream.