Amazon Echo

By: Nick Gambino

Tidal, better known as the music streaming serviced owned by Jay-Z, is finally available on Amazon Echo. It’ll still require a Tidal subscription so don’t think you’re getting anything for free here.

What’s unique about Tidal’s arrival to the Echo series of speakers is how it did it. Apps like Spotify and Pandora have required Amazon’s involvement to make them available through the smart speakers, but Tidal did it without the retail giant. Instead, they made use of Amazon’s Music Skill API.

A couple of months back, Amazon made it possible for streaming services to create Alexa support in their app, all on their own. This cuts out the need for Amazon to get involved and make it work. And with the increase in quality in Echo speakers, Tidal made their move. So now you can call up Tidal with just the use of your voice.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Nick why would I care about Tidal and their availability on the Echo?” That’s a good question. Most of us have Spotify or Apple Music or Pandora or any number of other streaming apps. What does Tidal offer that’s different, besides the only place you can stream Jay-Z’s entire catalog? Seriously you can’t even listen to any of his albums on YouTube. Apple Music has a few but it’s missing Reasonable Doubt!

But I digress. Tidal offers a more quality listening experience. A lot of us (most of us) have become pretty desensitized to the quality of streaming music. In order to stream an ungodly number of songs through the air like magic from a single platform requires compression. That process results in a loss of sounds that they think we wouldn’t notice. Digital music just isn’t as vibrant or dynamic as, say, vinyl records.

Tidal concentrates on hi-fidelity lossless digital streaming and so sounds a lot better than pretty much any other music streaming service out there, including Spotify. They promote it as “uncompressed CD quality music.” This is a major selling point for the platform and a main reason why they are still in the game. It’s not just a streaming service that Jay-Z says is better. It’s the streaming option for audiophile’s or anyone who prefers the quality of sound MP3’s just can’t deliver.

But as with anything you’re going to want to make sure the speaker you’re using is itself a quality medium. I suggest you invest in an Echo Plus if you can.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.