Tidal, the popular music streaming platform, has just made a major announcement that will surely delight audio enthusiasts. Starting June 29th, a select group of subscribers will have the privilege of accessing Tidal's extensive catalog in hi-res lossless audio, utilizing the widely acclaimed FLAC format. This exciting news was shared by Tidal's CEO, Jesse Dorogusker, in a Reddit post where he revealed that hi-res FLAC tracks, boasting impressive 24-bit/192kHz resolution, are now available to users participating in the Early Access Program (EAP) on iOS. Dorogusker also expressed the company's eagerness to gather feedback from this exclusive group of listeners before implementing the format more widely. The goal is to make the new format accessible to all HiFi Plus subscribers by August.
For those lucky enough to be part of the EAP, accessing the captivating hi-res lossless content is as simple as updating the beta app and selecting the "Max" quality option in the new Audio & Playback settings screen. Back in April 2023, when Dorogusker initially revealed the impending arrival of hi-res lossless tracks on Tidal, there were speculations about the future of the MQA format, which has been the go-to format for Tidal's higher-than-CD-quality offerings. Unfortunately, today's announcement does not provide a definitive answer to this lingering question. Dorogusker reiterated Tidal's commitment to supporting multiple formats to ensure an extensive collection of hi-res content but hinted at a preference for FLAC as the preferred format for high-resolution audio. This might raise concerns among MQA enthusiasts about the format's long-term viability on the streaming platform. Furthermore, Dorogusker emphasized the advantages of FLAC's open-source technology, which grants greater accessibility for artists and fans and aligns perfectly with Tidal's commitment to open platforms. He added, "Pairing accessibility with best-in-class audio quality directly aligns with our purpose of empowering artists to run thriving businesses in the economy."
With the launch of the hi-res lossless feature, EAP users now have access to a remarkable collection of over 6 million tracks in pristine FLAC quality. Tidal is actively collaborating with distributors, labels, and artists to expand its hi-res catalog in this format every day, ensuring a diverse and enriching musical experience for its discerning listeners.
It's worth noting that other major streaming services such as Apple Music and Amazon Music already offer a significant portion of their music catalogs in hi-res lossless format. Amazon Music utilizes the FLAC format, while Apple Music employs its own version of lossless audio encoding known as ALAC. Meanwhile, Qobuz, a relatively new player in the U.S. streaming landscape, also provides an extensive collection of hi-res lossless music.
As for Spotify, it stands as an outlier among the major streaming platforms, currently lacking a lossless audio option. However, industry insiders speculate that this may soon change, as Spotify could be exploring the inclusion of lossless audio to cater to the growing demand for superior sound quality.
In conclusion, Tidal's introduction of hi-res lossless audio in the beloved FLAC format marks a significant milestone for the platform. By embracing open-source technology and delivering an exceptional audio experience, Tidal continues to solidify its position as a frontrunner in the world of high-fidelity music streaming.