Apple Music and Tidal have been in a streaming war, fighting for customers by getting artists to sign exclusively with one of the two streaming entities. Let’s face it, as college students, most days we struggle to pay rent, purchase books and buy groceries. So where on Earth are we going to get the money to pay for one music subscription, let alone two!?
Frank Ocean’s recent album release, “Blonde,” was long overdue. After its release, subscribers to Tidal were unable to access the album because Ocean signed an exclusive deal with Apple. According to CNN’s Seth Fiegerman’s article, “The Streaming Music War is Getting Ugly,” Tidal subscribers were outraged, stating, “You’re telling me I switched to Tidal & Frank gotta go and drop an album exclusively for Apple Music?” Have no fear, Tidal users, Apple Music subscribers faced the same ordeal when Kanye dropped “The Life of Pablo” exclusively on Tidal. Just hours after the album dropped West tweeted, “My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale … You can only get it on Tidal.” Too bad West’s one too many nevers meant absolutely nothing, as “The Life of Pablo” eventually found its way to Apple Music. Along with Yeezus stabbing Jay-Z in the back, his beloved wife Beyoncé did the same with her album “Lemonade.” It looks as if the two never went over loyalty in their wedding vows.
It is obvious to see Jay-Z is not only losing every battle with Apple but also the entire war. So when investing the little money you have in music-streaming applications, what should you do? The best overall choice would be Apple Music. Not only does it have far more selections as far as music goes, but it could also be cheaper, depending on how you swing it. Apple charges $9.99 for a single subscription and $14.99 for a family plan. The family plan has the ability to have six family members on it, or six friends depending on your situation. If you find five reliable friends, you only have to pay $2.50 a month for unlimited music. Talk about a bargain!
Now if you are still wary about which to choose, here is what Tidal offers. The standard subscription will run you $9.99 and $19.99 for the lossless-quality, high-fidelity service. The high-fidelity service makes the music details finer, vocals crisper and allows for a more natural-sounding bass. While many who have tested the high-fidelity service state there is a difference in music quality, I do not believe it is worth an extra $10 a month. The best part about all of this is, if you buy a subscription to Tidal through Apple’s app store, the fee is bumped up so Apple gets a piece of the profit. Tidal is undoubtedly taking L’s left and right.
Now let’s say you really want a subscription to both. Your best bet would be going with the family plan for Apple Music and finding family members or friends to help you out with the payments. Then purchase the $9.99 subscription to Tidal. That will put you at roughly $12 a month for both subscriptions if you can get five other people on your family plan.
In all honesty, Tidal is on the decline and will be out of business within the next two years, so I would advise against the purchase of the service. If Tidal’s business owner, Jay-Z, can’t seem to keep his own wife on as an exclusive artist to his streaming app, how in the world would he be able to retain any other artists?
Brandon Cruz studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.