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TIDAL alters its approach to high-quality audio services

TIDAL, once revered among audiophiles for its high-quality music streaming, is undergoing significant changes. Previously known as the leader in premium audio, especially under Jay-Z’s ownership emphasizing higher costs for superior sound and artist-centric focus, TIDAL is now adapting in a competitive landscape where rivals offer similar high-fidelity streaming.

One major shift is TIDAL’s decision to discontinue support for Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) audio, once heralded as the pinnacle of audio quality when TIDAL introduced it in 2017. Instead, TIDAL will now exclusively stream FLAC audio files for top-tier listening experiences.

Additionally, TIDAL is phasing out support for 360 Reality Audio, a format originally championed by Sony for its immersive spatial music experiences. In its place, TIDAL will adopt Dolby Atmos, a more contemporary audio format.

MQA was notable for its ability to deliver high-quality audio with less file size compared to the bulkier FLAC format. However, its adoption remained limited, partly due to slower hardware integration.

Earlier this year, TIDAL streamlined its streaming options by reducing the cost of its primary music plan to $10.99 per month, offering high-resolution audio and Dolby Atmos tracks. This move aligns with competitors like Apple Music, which introduced high-resolution streaming without additional fees, making TIDAL’s higher pricing less competitive.

Meanwhile, Spotify has faced delays in launching high-fidelity audio despite leaks suggesting ongoing development. Recent leaks hint at hidden features like a “Enhanced Listening” setting incorporating 24-bit audio, while Spotify has diversified its offerings with additions like audiobooks and podcasts. Amidst Apple Music’s free rollout of high-resolution streaming, Spotify has notably avoided public discussion on the topic.

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