Premium music streaming service Tidal is already available in the UK, where it offers CD-quality music on demand – a step above the more compressed audio offered by Spotify, Rdio and the like.
However, it’s going one step further in the near future – it’s about to offer a fully lossless option.
The announcement comes off the back of a deal with British hi-fi company Meridian. Meridian recent unveiled the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio codec, which it says offers full lossless audio (i.e. indistinguishable from the original studio master recordings) but in data sizes small enough to be streamable through current broadband connections. Tidal’s lossless service will use MQA.
Tidal’s Strategic Partnership Manager Pal Bratelund says that the technical side of the service is in place, but there’s still work to be done: “The technology is there, now it’s about securing contents rights for Hi-Res music, which is a whole different game from Red Book CD quality.” He makes a good point: if you can’t offer songs that people actually want to hear, you’re not going to attract customers – no matter how easy on the ears your audio tech is.
Tidal’s current CD-quality service features 25 million tracks, and will set you back £20 a month (double the price of Spotify Premium). Bratelund suggests that this price may drop a little when the premium lossless option launches.
Tidal works across multiple sources. As well as iOS, Android, Mac and PC, it’s integrated into hi-fi hardware from the likes of Meridian, Sonos, Linn and Squeezebox. It’s not clear whether or not its lossless service will be available on all these platforms, but more info is likely to emerge in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you posted.
[Source: What Hi-Fi?]