Streaming Services - do they do everything?


I’ve been having some brief conversations with a friend at a cursory level, which leave me with the following questions pertaining to which service offers the best fit for me.

1. which service offers the highest resolution for $10/month?
2. which service has the most intuitive interface
3. which service can be accessed via a computer interface - makes downloading into my library easier
4. which service can you download music to play offline
- is there a limit of the number of offline songs
- is the limit a "total number of tracks" or "total" per period of time (quarterly, annually?)
- can the songs be stored on or moved to a NAS drive
5. which streaming service crashes the least

Thanks in advance

williewonka
I use Spotify, which I think meets most of your needs and costs $9.99 per month. 
I tried Tidal, but was turned off by the limited classical selection. I think it cost about $15/month. The resolution is higher than Spotify, but I really didn't notice a really big difference ( though some may disagree).
B
Tidal is $20 a month and I do disagree I found the sound quality to be night and day better then Spotify. I think it's a steal for my $20 especially considering I used to spend about $100 a month buying cds.
Willie - my 2 cents, though I’m not certain about some of these (where indicated).

1. which service offers the highest resolution for $10/month?
As from gdnrbob & jond Spotify Premium is ~$10/mo and Tidal HiFi (their best) is $20/mo. SQ from Tidal is definitely better than Spotify. BUT for me, the Tidal trial version using a Macbook Air via USB to external DAC did NOT clearly show this. The difference at that time between Tidal & Spotify was NOT night and day. However, once I got the Aries Mini that came with a 1 year Tidal subscription, the Tidal SQ advantage was clear. Spotify seems a little closed in, just not as much air or "sparkle", less lively compared to Tidal. You can "hear" the compression in Spotify though if you aren’t A/B-ing, Spotify is still very listenable. Tidal is VERY close to ripped CDs though I still prefer the latter.

2. which service has the most intuitive interface
Personally, I find Spotify easier to use. Prefer the way it is organized. Tidal just seems more cluttered. BUT it’s not a deal breaker and I do have a lot more time and experience using Spotify.  The Browse/Discover function on Spotify has turned me on to quite a bit of new music.  

3. which service can be accessed via a computer interface - makes downloading into my library easier
With both Tidal & Spotify there are downloadable "apps" that can run on PC, Laptop, or smart phone. With both you can "save" full albums. Tidal lists the ones saved under Albums or My Music (accessed in the left sidebar). Spotify shows my saved albums under "Your Library" again found in the left sidebar.

Spotify definitely limits the number of albums you can save to your library. I don’t know how that limit is determined. I thought it was just based on hitting some max number of albums. Don’t know for sure though. I’ve run up against this limit several times. I just delete ones I've not been listening to very much.  Don’t have the same user history with Tidal, but so far I’ve not encountered a limit to the number of albums saved on it.

4. which service can you download music to play offline
- is there a limit of the number of offline songs
- is the limit a "total number of tracks" or "total" per period of time (quarterly, annually?)
- can the songs be stored on or moved to a NAS drive

So far as I know both let you download for offline playback. I don’t know the limit for downloaded albums. With Spotify, these saved albums do seem to occupy space on your hard drive (I can see 'em in Finder)....or wherever you have the Spotify "app" saved, I think.  But one of the virtues of Ogg Vorbis compression is they take up less space. I am not as sure about how or where Tidal albums are stored. Given they are uncompressed they’d take up a good deal of space on a local hard drive. I’m guessing they reside on a remote server you access when connecting to Tidal BUT THAT IS A COMPLETE GUESS on my part.

Just because an album is saved to your Spotify Library or Tidal Favorites does not make it automatically available when off-line. I’m more familiar with downloading for off-line playback using Spotify. You have to be logging into Spotify at some minimum frequency (1x/mo, I think) to keep your downloaded albums available. Not sure about a limit on the number of these you can have. Almost completely certain you can download with Tidal for off-line playback but I haven’t done it so can’t provide details.

I don’t know of a legal means for saving Spotify or Tidal music files in a completely independent, off-line mode. If you had Spotify or Tidal programs running on an external drive, saved albums or downloaded files would be on that drive too - at least for Spotify; not sure about Tidal. As I said, not sure where saved Tidal album files get stored.

5. which streaming service crashes the least
I have NOT had "crash" problems with either service. However, I still get occasional interruptions due to buffering with Tidal. Doesn’t happen much but seems to run in streaks. Distance from wireless router does seem to influence this but this is not the complete explanation. Spotify has been pretty flawless in operation and I’ve been a subscriber for a couple years now.

I use the Browse/Discover function on Spotify. This is a great feature. Tidal has something similar, I believe. If I find something I like, I’ll look for it on Tidal to enjoy the better sound quality. However, the Spotify library continues to be much more complete than that of Tidal...especially if you like to get off the beaten path in pursuit of more obscure titles. In my O-pinion that is one significant advantage Spotify does have over Tidal.

If you want to get started, $10 per month for Spotify ain’t much. If you like it, try Tidal next and if you like the Tidal SQ advantage vs the more limited library, dump Spotify and go with Tidal. Ain’t rocket science, dude :-) Good luck!
I live in a country where tidal is not available and have been using Deezer premium. I’m pretty sure it does everything you mention and the interface and selection is excellent - I listen to a very wide range of music from jazz to classical, opera, rock, edm, blues. The sq streaming on my bluesound node is excellent - close to qbuz and much better than Apple Music or regular Spotify. The deezer app is great and using deezer with the bluesound app works seamlessly. 
Ghosthouse - Thanks very much for the very detailed posting - much appreciated.

Thanks to all the other posters - greatly appreciated

Is anyone using Napster? - feedback appreciated

Cheers
+3 jond. Tidal HiFi is a no brainer for $20 a month especially if you have an MQA enabled device for playback. As for saving the content offline, I personally never investigated that option but given that you can access the content almost anytime from anywhere using your phone, tablet, or computer, I find that functionality moot. I carry a (short) USB cable and/or a headphone 3.5mm jack to stereo RCA cable adaptor when I visit my non-audiophile friends and they’re constantly blown away by the selection and the excellent quality of the music they hear coming out of my iPhone.
Great post Ghosthouse!
I might give Tidal another shot this winter when I get my main system put together. Maybe they have improved their classical section.
B
My pleasure, Bob and Willie.  
ghosthouse fantastic post and considering how often the streaming topic comes up these days it should be made into a sticky for all to read.
Thanks, Jon.  You are the one that got me onto the Aries Mini (BlueSound Node didn't do ALAC back when I was first looking at these devices) and the Mini is what really let me hear the improved SQ of Tidal vs Spotify.  So, ongoing thanks to you.  The Mini through Gungnir MB has become THE source of choice for me.  It is almost all I listen to these days (ripped CDs, Tidal, Spotify & Internet radio).  What a great little, unobtrusive gadget.  
@ghosthouse
You owe it to yourself to go up the Schiit line.
The Yggy offer even more detail than the Gungy. I don’t know how they do it, but they do. The closest I can find to the Yggy is an Ayre Codex.
B
Sorry but am I the only juvenile that giggles every time they see Schiit in certain sentences? :)
Hi Bob -
I usually find a way to get in deeper Schiit. Going up would be a novel experience. I don’t dismiss your advice
(I’m always amazed what more there is to "hear" from another upgrade when I thought the system was already at some "zenith") but audio $ are tapped out now.  I truly am happy with digital right now.  I take it you are enjoying your Yggdrasil?

You are not alone Jon, though adolescence is a dim memory now, I still get a kick out of that name. Brilliant bit of marketing.