There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately about Tidal, the latest streaming music service to hit the Internet. Jay Z recently purchased the streaming music and video service for $56 million, thinking that people will pay extra for higher quality music. Tidal allows you to stream music in lossless hi-fi quality, and you can pay for your subscription either through Tidal’s Web page or through an in-app purchase on your iOS device. What Tidal and Apple aren’t telling people, however, is that the smartest way to subscribe is through the Web page.
If you purchase your subscription to Tidal through an in-app purchase, you’ll pay $25.99 per month for hi-fi tracks. If you just subscribe to Tidal Premium, which offers standard sound quality, you will pay $12.99 each month. However, if you subscribe to Tidal through their Web page and pay with a credit card, subscription prices are $19.99 and $9.99 per month, respectively.
The reason for this discrepancy is Apple’s cut of the purchase price. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases (except in the case of premium content app HBO Now, from which Cupertino only takes 15 percent when users sign up through Apple TV). Because of a rule in Apple’s in-app purchases policies, Tidal is not allowed to link to their outside purchase portal, so they don’t mention the lower price anywhere in the app.
Tidal does point out the reason for the higher price for in-app purchases, in its support pages:
Why is the Price Higher for Apple In-App Purchases?
The reason the In-App Purchase subscription cost differs from the subscription price on TIDAL.com is due to the Apple service fee imposed for using their service.
To make a long story short, our recommendation is that you pay for your subscription to Tidal through their Web page. There is absolutely no reason to pay more each month for the service than you have to, especially when you are purchasing the hi-fi subscription package. If you want to find out more about what we think of the this new music and video streaming service, stay tuned for our review of Tidal.