Review: Apple Music beats Tidal

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APPLE MUSIC

The foray into streaming by the cutting edge tech giant was no surprise when it finally happened late last month.

CATALOGUE: Apple Music has one of the biggest music catalogues in the business, which is constantly being updated with new music that is also being sold through the iTunes store. The iTunes catalogue is said to have an impressive 30 million songs.

PLAYLISTS: A special feature is the For You function, which quickly learns what you you’re into and, like an attentive lover, surprises you with something new every day from your favourites.

VIDEOS: Yes. Both exclusive (such as Drake’s Energy video) and nonexclusive videos.

OFFLINE CAPABILITY: Yes. You can either make an individual song available, or add songs to existing playlists.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Integration! Apple Music fits in seamlessly with your existing iTunes library. You can add songs to play offline playlists already on your phone, whether or not you have purchased them. Songs you’ve flagged before appear in your music library and you can decide what to do with them. You can also pause your music and listen to the Apple Music Radio content. The Connect feature allows you to follow some of your favourite artists and curators so you can keep up with what they like.

PRICE: R59.99 a month, with a half-price family option for up to six family members.

TRIAL PERIOD: Three months free.

VERDICT: Apple Music is simply superb. It’s not that Tidal isn’t great – it truly is – but Apple Music is simply better, and a lot of that has to do with its seamless integration into your existing music collection and its price offering. It makes the massive catalogues easily accessible in one beautiful, “intuitive” interface.

TIDAL

Tidal was launched with dramatic marketing using some of the world’s biggest stars.

CATALOGUE: When Tidal hit our shores, it was said to have 25 million songs, which was impressive for a newbie. It claims that it has since grown to 30 million, and I was surprised to be able to find my favourite Jimmy Dludlu album (Afrocentric) on its system.

Tidal has increased its offering of new bands and artists with the Tidal Rising and Discovery features, which allows existing artists to broaden their reach and Tidal users to experience new talent exclusively on the platform.

There is a decent selection of African artists: among them you’ll find Wizkid, AKA and Tiwa Savage, but, strangely, no Mi Casa.

PLAYLISTS: Part of the Tidal experience is being able to listen to playlists picked by your favourite celeb or artist, so you can find Jay Z or Beyoncé’s latest favourites.

There are also extensive offerings of already-compiled playlists for every occasion: happiness, heartbreak, gym, hip-hop or rave party.

The other cool feature is being able to get playlists from concerts and events that Tidal owners have been a part of or have partnered with, so you can jam to the playlist from that hip-hop concert in Brooklyn, New York, last week.

VIDEOS: Yes. Both exclusive and nonexclusive videos, 75 000 of which are HD videos.

OFFLINE CAPABILITY: Yes. You can select which playlists or albums you want to be available offline for up to three different devices, which means you can take your music with you even if you do not have connectivity. It does download to your phone, so it uses your phone’s memory. You can use up to three different offline devices with one Tidal account, and all three can play music simultaneously.

WEB APP: Yes. It’s not as great as the mobile app, but Tidal offers a desktop version that allows you to access all your content.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The big sell for Tidal is its exclusive releases (such as the recent Lil Wayne album which was released only on Tidal), but there is no real exclusive in the age of the internet. The other special feature is the HD music and video content (in particular the high fidelity sound, which is very special if you have decent to good output devices).

PRICE: The lower-tier option (Tidal Premium) is R89.99 per month, while the Tidal HIFI option with high-definition sound is R129.99 per month, with a half-price family option for up to five additional members.

TRIAL PERIOD: Thirty days free

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