Is Tidal in trouble?

The Tidal app has definitely gotten better with regards to not bombarding you (i.e. me) with only hip-hop / rap oriented albums, songs and artists. They seem to be mimicking Netflix’s approach, which I’ll say is unquestionably ‘better’, but I would like some ability to customize what is displayed on the main page. For example, I’d like to remove the ‘video’ and ‘podcasts’ categories (and probably a couple others) from the main page. Regardless, glad to see Tidal improving their Tidal-app experience.

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My uindergraduate degree was a performance degree in music. That was earned in 1984. I know just enough to know better, and I’m old enough to know everyone is entitled to their opinions.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact . Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

-(probably not)Marcus Aurelius

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So after 625 posts – is it safe to conclude that Tidal is not in trouble?


That seems way too hasty…


26 posts were split to a new topic: Has Roon stated their intentions for what they would do if TIDAL were to go out-of-business

Conclude? No…

Happy they’re still around and improving ? Yup :grin:

I’m relatively new to Roon and about 80% of my library is made up of Tidal albums so I’m definitely in the group that hopes Tidal does not go away. I’ve seen many posts about other streaming options ( Qobuz, Idagio, Primephonic etc. ) and suggestions that Roon should partner with many of them. I have no inside info on what Roon needs from a streaming partner nor what a streaming vendor would hope to gain from partnering with Roon. I did find this graph of music subscription revenue and subscribers:

While I don’t know how accurate the numbers are assuming they are not far off this is what I get from them:

Subscription streaming is growing
The market is dominated by a few big players ( 8 services make up 86% )
Of the top 8 Deezer looks like the only possible Roon partner and they may already be too big

All of the services suggested as possible partners and Tidal fall into the Other category with 32.8 million subscribers making up just 14% of the market. Taking a closer look:

Primephonic is available in 3 countries, just launched on September 6 2018, classical only
Qobuz is available in 11 countries plus the US soon, no estimate on subscribers
Tidal is available in 53 countries, 1-3 million subscribers, who knows for sure
Idagio is available in 130 countries, no estimate on subscribers, classical only
Deezer is available in 182 countries, 7+ million subscribers

I did not list Tencent Music ( China ), Pandora ( US ) or MeION ( South Korea ) due to geographic limitations and I omitted Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Google assuming they are too big to be bothered cooperating with someone like Roon.

What does all this mean? I think it means be thankful for Tidal integration and hope that Qobuz integration comes soon. It wouldn’t hurt to wish for continued success and independence for both companies. I’m not sure there are any suitable replacements in the wings.


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Nice stats…

The discussion unfortunately is rather Euro/US biased. I live in South Africa for my sins, we get everything late

We got Tidal just over a year ago and Spotify even more recently , Qobuz isn’t even on the map. If I Google Qobuz I am told we don’t do your country …

I have a large local library so Tidal is the icing, that said it’s an integral part of the Roon experience. Should it go I would probably have nothing available to replace it no matter who Roon teams with , excepting the “biggies”. We don’t even have Amazon ZA yet although it coming soon

Tidal is one of the big factors in not binning Roon, I have been vocal about Classical stuff so no rant

This situation must be the same in many non Euro non US countries , backwaters …


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Looks like Idagio might be an option for you. They imply they are available everywhere except China and Japan. Of course, there would need to be enough value to the deal for them and for Roon.


Yes I did look at it a while back. Integration into Roon would be the issue

Running these services and getting them to connect up to an existing system is often not easy

JRiver seem totally turned off to streaming services which be my other route

Let’s hang in for Tidal


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Pertinant to the discussion, we were invited to enjoy Stephen Fearing last night (Canadian. Singer songwriter, guitarist) who told us about his tour in Denmark where after a gig plenty of people came up to speak with him but knowbody bought any albums.
When asking the host why, he was told that this is fairly normal now as everybody streams here. Think on; no CD players in a lot of new cars even…
This begged the question, how do I make a living? Will the next album I make be the last? This was done with humour but also a serious edge.
For my part, I bought a CD and some vinyl as a keepsake… (It’s hard to walk out of the home of REGA without some vinyl lol).

Well I had tons of vinyl back in the 70’s and in a move they all got lost. I did buy some in cd form but I use streaming now as it would be way too costly to repurchase all of the lost vinyl .

It strikes me that in time, if young people don’t buy anything, they will get nothing… sad but true…

Hi Chris,
what you’re saying is true, of course. However, the vast majority of professional musicians out there don‘t make their money by selling CDs or records etc. but by playing live or studio gigs they get paid for… It may have become more difficult in recent years, but fortunately many of us still make a very decent living…


In Twickenham? Nice. Hope to see him soon @ the Bridge Inn in Topsham. Will buy CD :slight_smile:

My former Naim system gave a readout of the bandwidth of the stream. For 44.1kHz 16 bit uncompressed FLAC it was 1411 kbps.

I don’t know. Folks bemoan the “death of the high street” and point to the likes of Amazon and online retailers. It’s kinda convenient for them to play victim and point to online and tell folks it’s bad and wrong. But the same companies moaning about the online retailers are the giants that killed off the butchers, veg markets etc and replaced them with department stores.

Reason they succeeded over the high street - convenience. Go shop in one place. Ditto the online retailers.

Every industry is going through change. AirBnB is a massive “hotel” chain. But own no real estate. Uber is a taxi giant. But own no vehicles.

The only thing that is sure in this world (other than death and taxes) is change. I guess we have to monetize streaming in a way that is profitable and shares the proceeds equitably. It needs someone to shake up the industry because it seems in a pretty gloomy place at the moment (like the high street giants bemoaning online when they killed off the true suppliers and talent).


Or you can use a little math and figure it out for any format:

sample_rate * bit_depth * channels = bits/sec

CD (16/44.1K)
44100 * 16 * 2 = 1,411,200 bits / sec = 1411.2 Kbits/sec = 1.4112 Mbit/sec

192000 * 24 * 2 = 9,216,000 bits/sec = 9216 Kbits/sec = 9.219 Mbit/sec

2800000 * 1 * 2 = 5,600,000 bits/sec = 5600 Kbits/sec = 5.6Mbits/sec

That’s the raw bitrate. For streaming you’re going to want to use some sort of compression (usually flac) and that has an undefined compression ratio (depends on encoder settings and file content). 0.6 - 0.7 is a reasonable multiplier to get into the ballpark.

The argument that always comes up with regard to higher-resolution streaming is that, “bandwidth is cheap and plentiful so that’s not a problem anymore.”

True, bandwidth is cheap… to your home… but a lot of that is based on marketing with the assumption that people will buy the higher number when they’re getting a good deal on it. Try using all of that bandwidth all the time and you’ll soon find out how expensive it can be!

The best way for a streaming service to be profitable is to sign up a bunch of paying customers who never use the service. That’s not realistic so the service has to have the available bandwidth to support some very large number of simultaneous streams. If it takes 7x the bandwidth of CD to stream 24/192 then the cost of serving one “high res” customer could be as much as 7x that of one CD customer… or 7 paying “CD resolution” customers could be handled at the same cost as one 24/192 customer.

If there’s a strong enough demand for true high resolution then the services will provide it. The problem is that only audiophiles care about “high res” and the number of audiophile streaming subscribers is a rounding error when compared to the entire market. There are orders of magnitude differences.

Don’t underestimate the cost of bandwidth and stream servicing. It’s expensive. This is why the difference between high rate AAC/MP3 and FLAC compressed CD is still a big problem for the services. Tidal charges 2x to get CD/MQA but they can service 2 - 3 lower tier users with the same resources. For any service to offer higher than that and do it profitably on an ongoing basis they will need to get a lot of people signing up for the high res tier who don’t use it often (or use it and then buy the music).

Services are having to look to other sources of revenue that have nothing to do with delivering the stream to the customer. Take Spotify, for instance, where they’re starting to monetize the data collected about their users (content streamed, browsing habits, preferences). They’re sitting on a marketing data goldmine and they’re starting to exploit it. Ever wonder why Spotify cut all of the third-party interfaces from their platform (i.e. Sonos direct browsing)? Those interfaces didn’t have the ability to collect the same level of granular data on individual users.

The Tidal going under / Qobuz is better / Why can’t they deliver high res discussions are entertaining, but the reality is that the only way to make money in this business is through volume, minimizing expenses, and monetizing your relationship with your customer. There are too many services now to create a viable business model for any of them. There will be consolidation and some services will disappear. The winners will be the ones with deep enough pockets to survive the turmoil and can emerge with an offering that’s appealing to the widest possible audience. High resolution streaming isn’t really on anyone’s radar when looked at from that perspective.


Oh yes they do. Sure they get paid but I can tell you, the most important place in our venue after the stage, is the merch table. They absolutely need to sell merch at every level.

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