DJs Feel Betrayed by Tidal’s New Pricing Scheme

Tidal's updated plans and new DJ extension add-on leaves a bad taste to DJs using the platform.
Tidal’s updated plans and new DJ extension add-on leaves a bad taste to DJs using the platform.

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The changes have pushed many DJs to switch platforms.

Tidal has recently announced a new pricing structure that has left some users, particularly DJs, feeling disgruntled.

It plans to merge its HiFi and HiFi Plus tiers into a single subscription called TIDAL, priced at $10.99/month, starting April 10, 2024. However, under the new pricing scheme, DJs who wish to use Tidal’s DJ integration will be required to pay an additional $9/month on top of the standard subscription fee.

This change sparked frustration among some users, including a semi-professional DJ, mrblu_ink, who took to the platform to express his disappointment.

The Main Story

The OP's original post on the r/TIdaL subreddit. (From: Reddit)
The OP’s original post on the r/TIdaL subreddit. (From: Reddit)

In his post, mrblu_ink explained that he subscribed to Tidal primarily for the DJ integration, which he uses to prepare for gigs and test tracks.

“I could budget the extra $11/month for TIDAL because it came in very handy while prepping for gigs, testing tracks for transitions or remixes, or even the occasional gig where I’m using my laptop/controller and I’m playing an open format gig.” he stated.

However, according to him, the new pricing structure has put DJs in a tough spot. As OP also has a Spotify subscription, he must now choose between the two platforms. He can either cancel his Spotify subscriptions to afford Tidal’s higher cost or give up the DJ integration feature altogether.

Using Tidal with Rekordbox. (From: Tidal)
Using Tidal with Rekordbox. (From: Tidal)

For the OP, neither option is ideal. He relies on both services for different aspects of his work and personal life.

“The problem with the first option is that I have a Spotify family plan with multiple people on it that would be shafted and upended. Those people don’t care about the audio quality (but they do care about Spotify’s social features).” he explains.

He acknowledges Tidal’s superior audio quality. But, for him, the people who invest in audiophile-grade listening hardware would be more inclined to pay for the HiFi Plus plan. He feels that the new pricing scheme only benefits those who were already comfortable paying for the HiFi Plus tier.

Plus, he emphasizes that he still has a lot of other things he has to pay for in DJing to consider. This makes the price change even more burdensome.

“Even while using TIDAL, I still have to spend money to buy tracks. I’m not so paid as a DJ that I’m insulated from the costs of gigging/everyday life,” he added.

“Paying $20 a month to play tracks I can’t keep is a poor investment, even if I were to do all my gigs with my controller and laptop… transportation costs on top of that would shaft me.”

A look into Tidal for DJ feature. (From: Tidal)
A look into Tidal for DJ feature. (From: Tidal)

Giving up Spotify would also mean losing a significant avenue of promotion for the OP. He says that he mainly uses the platform’s large market share. This is to utilize its social benefits to share his playlists and music.

Ultimately, the new scheme leads to his decision to let go of Tidal once the new pricing scheme takes effect.

Although his use case is specific, he believes many DJs who subscribe to TIDAL primarily for the DJ integration may feel similarly about the price change.

The Community Reaction

The community’s response to the new pricing scheme has been mixed.

Some users believe that more people will benefit from the decreased price of the regular streaming plan. For them, offering a single tier makes more sense than catering to a niche group of DJ users.

“More people will profit from the price decrease of the regular streaming plan and only offering one streaming plan anymore. It makes way more sense than staying with the current plan to satisfy that small niche of users who actually use DJ integration,” says one user.

Others also speculate that the price increase may be related to rights holders’ deals rather than Tidal’s desire to impact DJs specifically. They also point out that, as a long-time HiFi Plus subscriber, the $20/month price tag is not unreasonable for the features offered.

People who think the new pricing scheme is justifiable. (From: Reddit)
People who think the new pricing scheme is justifiable. (From: Reddit)

However, some users have expressed support for the DJs affected by the change.

Most of them highlighted that Tidal recently pulled STEM support. The price increase would’ve been more palatable if this feature were restored as part of the DJ integration add-on.

People who side with the OP's sentiments on how Tidal's new pricing scheme affects DJs. (From: Reddit)
People who side with the OP’s sentiments on how Tidal’s new pricing scheme affects DJs. (From: Reddit)

Some DJs who use Tidal’s feature are also considering switching to Apple Music instead. This is in response to Apple Music’s recent integration with one of the more popular DJ apps, Algoriddim’s djay Pro, without any additional fees.

“Unfortunately for Tidal, I use Algoriddim Djay, and I have an Apple Music subscription. I only kept Tidal for when I use Rekordbox. But I have enough of my own local music that I can get by without streaming when using Rekordbox.” says one user.

“To top it off, Tidal has a relatively poor Apple Watch UX… and, for me, a more limited library of music I like to listen to, if not also mix. So, even if they do reintroduce stems, with the $20 monthly fee, this may be the end of the line for me and Tidal.”

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