With many of its music subscription rivals offering attractive family plan pricing, Tidal has decided it's time to do the same thing. Today the company is announcing family plans for both its Premium and HiFi (lossless) streaming tiers. But whereas Apple Music's family plan comes at a flat rate, Tidal is charging customers money for each new account registered underneath the primary user.
The way it works is this: for each new person tied to your account, you pay half of the original subscription cost. So if you're on Tidal Premium, adding extra members of your family will cost $4.99 per person every month, in addition to your main $9.99 fee. Price-wise, this is more or less an exact clone of existing family plans from Spotify and Rdio — but Spotify has signaled it plans to lower pricing soon since Apple Music is already undercutting everyone.
Apple's pricing is more straightforward, and soon Spotify will be cheaper
If you're on Tidal High Fidelity, the costs are significantly higher. Tidal's lossless streaming tier, which to be clear is something rivals don't even offer, costs $19.99 per month. And for each new person added to your family plan, it's $9.99. That could get very expensive in a hurry. You can add up to four accounts to a family plan, and if you do that with Tidal HiFi, you'll be paying around $60 each month for everyone in your family to stream lossless audio. Many people can't tell any difference between Tidal Premium's 320kbps AACs and CD-quality FLAC files using today's popular smartphones and headphones, so the Premium tier is definitely the more sensible option.
But even then, the version regular consumers should get costs more than Apple Music's $15 per month family plan, which allows six people to stream music versus the five that Tidal permits. And while Tidal can say it's charging the same as Spotify right now, we know that won't be lasting long. It's good to see Tidal offering the option of simplifying payments for families, but Apple (and even Rhapsody, for that matter) have shown that it's possible to make these plans way more straightforward. It's hard to see this really moving the needle much in Tidal's favor, so the company will need to keep leaning on exclusives and its famous lineup of overseers to do that.