TIDAL is turning to the FLAC format


While MQA is looking for a new investor, the lossless music streaming service TIDAL, which uses the popular uncompressed format, is covering its back. The American platform will provide access to FLAC files for its HiFi Plus subscribers.

Guide banner: understanding the MQA format

Is this a reaction to recent concerns about the future of MQA and its eponymous uncompressed audio format, or is it just a coincidence? In any case, TIDAL has decided to expand its offer. Soon, users of the American music streaming service who have subscribed to the HiFi Plus package will be able to listen to tracks in FLAC format.

FLAC format in addition to MQA files

Jesse Dorogusker, TIDAL’s CEO, revealed the news in an online Q&A. While no rollout date has been given, the activation of the FLAC format for HiFi Plus subscribers should take place in the coming weeks. Currently, some FLAC files are already present on TIDAL, but now the goal is to make the FLAC catalog accessible to premium subscribers of the streaming platform.

Illustration of TIDAL streaming platform
Built around MQA encoding, the music streaming platform TIDAL now wants to move towards the FLAC format.

At the same time, TIDAL has clarified that the catalog available in MQA format is destined to remain on the platform. Consequently, HiFi Plus subscribers will be able to choose between MQA encoded music and FLAC formats for the same song.

The new challenges of the FLAC format

The universal FLAC format is more bandwidth-intensive and requires some accommodation. That’s why TIDAL announced, again through Jesse Dorogusker, its desire to offer its subscribers maximum flexibility. Everyone will be able to choose which format to use to maximize audio quality and bandwidth usage.

Comparison: which lossless music service to choose?

Currently, TIDAL offers its high-resolution catalog from €19.99 per month. In comparison, the top Amazon Music Unlimited package costs €9.99 per month and Apple Music charges €10.99 per month for its subscription. However, the latter two platforms offer 24-bit/192Hz audio files, compared to 24-bit/384Hz for TIDAL.

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