The Beatles have been available for streaming for just a few hours now. I’m a hardcore Spotify fan, and have already been listening non-stop for a couple of hours to the Fab Four.
But the band’s catalog is actually available on nine streaming services, including Spotify. And while each is claiming to offer a unique experience, there is really only one service that delivers: Tidal.
One caveat: I’ve made a very quick tour of the nine services to see what they’re offering. A true review and comparison would likely take weeks. That said, what most are offering is basically the 13 albums The Beatles have made available.
What Tidal has put together is a true multimedia, interactive experience that includes timelines, interactive graphics, and clips of interviews with band members telling backstories and insider tales.
Yes, Tidal is the oft-maligned musician-run streaming service that bet on listeners wanting superior audio quality and exclusive access to special videos or works-in-progress from their favorite artists. While I’ve only dabbled with it a little in a free trial, it wasn’t enough to convince me to switch from Spotify.
But with The Beatles body of work, this approach really bears fruit. The Beatles’ archives are infinite, as anyone who has ever watched the full Anthology series knows. And for Beatles obsessives (like me), their interest in minutiae about the band is without limit. I would have seriously considered paying for a Beatles-only subscription service that gave me full access to everything in the band’s archive.
The Tidal presentation is the first of these nine services to tap that potential. The Web layout is beautiful and smooth, and lets you dive in and out of different albums and tracks for more information and stories.
It could be that others will eventually catch up. Apple Music has sought to mirror this type of approach with its Connect feature, which promises to give users exclusive access to updates and material from their favorite artists. And, of course, Apple was the first place where you could by digital downloads of the band’s music.
In Apple Music, there are a couple of Tony Sheridan-era Beatles albums available. But in searching around (I’ve never found Apple Music super easy to use), I didn’t find any Beatles extras. (If I missed them, feel free to scream at me.)
Tidal offers a 30-day free trial period, but no free-listening tier after that. I was able to explore a lot of the Beatles features without a subscription, but there’s probably even more stuff tucked inside.
Tidal has a $9.99 monthly plan, and a “HiFi” plan for $19.99 per month, that offers superior audio quality. There are discounts for students and for members of the military.
Personally, I’m going to just enjoy the glorious sounds of The Beatles streaming nonstop. It’s difficult to contain my excitement about this.