Tidal adds free tier to its music streaming service

It follows in Spotify's footsteps, allowing people to listen to music for free with ads.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar

You can listen to music on Tidal for free now.


Tidal is looking to better compete with Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming services. On Wednesday, the company said it's launching a free tier in the US, called Tidal Free.  

With the addition of the free plan, the artist-owned service now offers three options:

  • Tidal Free: Free, ad-supported tier with limited interruptions.
  • Tidal HiFi: A $10 per month subscription that offers ad-free access to high-fidelity sound quality.
  • Tidal HiFi Plus: Tidal's most premium service ($20 per month), which includes Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Audio, Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) recordings and more.

For now, the free subscription is only available in the US, though Tidal said it plans to bring the option to other markets in the future. People on the free plan will have access to Tidal's catalog of over 80 million songs, but the bitrate of streaming music will max out at 160 kbps (which isn't CD-quality, but still acceptable for most people).

Tidal, which relaunched in 2015 with the backing of rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z and more than a dozen other well-known musicians, has positioned itself as the go-to music service for audiophiles. In March, financial services company Square, which is run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, acquired a majority ownership stake in the music streaming service. As part of the $297 million deal, Jay-Z joined Square's board of directors. 

See also: Best music streaming service for 2021