Among the various subscription-based streaming music services, Jay-Z’s Tidal stands out for both the quality of its exclusives (Price, Kanye, Rihanna, Beyonce) and the fact it offers lossless streaming. Appealing to audiophiles has been part of Tidal’s pitch since it debuted at CES 2015, and the service is on the cusp of offering hi-res streaming using the MQA format, which promises studio-quality playback at (roughly) CD-quality bitrates. Now, numerous credible reports exist that indicate Apple is in talks with Tidal about a potential acquisition.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there is no firm deal in place but talks are ongoing. Apple’s interest in Tidal appears to center around boosting its Apple Music service because the service has strong relationships with the artists in its roster like Kayne West and Madonna. Were such a deal to go through, one potential side effect could be the advent of Apple offering audio encoded in the MQA format. I have long thought that Apple’s involvement in hi-res audio would be exactly what it takes for it to achieve mainstream success. Even if the adoption of MQA did not happen, Tidal’s support for lossless streaming at CD quality represents an improvement in fidelity over Apple’s 256 kbps AAC offering.
If this deal goes through, do you agree that it’ll represent hi-res audio’s best hope? Or is Apple just in the hunt for some popular artists that can bolster its own streaming service?