Tidal Adopting Hi-Res FLAC

Sound &Vision article can be found here.
Original Reddit source can be found here.

Sound & Vision:

Today, Tidal revealed on Reddit that HiFi Plus subscribers will soon have a new streaming option: high-resolution FLAC. This announcement follows closely behind MQA's entry into "administration," the British equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This development suggests financial difficulties for MQA and raises questions about its future. 

Tidal currently uses FLAC for its CD-quality streams, but relies on MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology for its hi-res streaming.

Until there's more information available, one can only speculate what are the ramifications of this announcement. But it is possible Tidal may be cautiously shifting to the non-proprietary FLAC format—which requires no specialized hardware for decoding—to hedge its bets with MQA. Will Tidal abandon MQA completely? Will it buy the underlying technology if the company is sold in pieces? Only time will tell!

There's no press release out yet, but the news about TIDAL adopting FLAC is official. In an AMA session, @TIDAL_Jesse specifically said:

"Breaking news for my reddit peeps: we will be introducing hi-res FLAC for our HiFi Plus subscribers soon. It's lossless and an open standard. It's a big file, but we'll give you controls to dial this up and down based on what's going on." - from Reddit.com.

So, what is FLAC? The Free Lossless Audio Codec is an open-source file format designed to provide lossless compression of digital audio data. FLAC was first released in 2001 and has since gained popularity due to its ability to reduce file sizes without compromising audio quality.

Key features of the FLAC file format 
• Lossless Compression: Unlike lossy compression formats like MP3 and AAC, FLAC retains all the original audio information.

• Open Source: Its source code is publicly available and can be utilized or modified by developers free of charge.

• Compression Ratio: FLAC can compress audio files by about 30-50%, depending on the source material, which results in smaller file sizes compared to uncompressed formats like WAV or AIFF.

• Wide Compatibility: Supported by numerous hardware and software platforms, including smartphones, portable audio players, and desktop applications.

• Streaming Capability: Files can be streamed over the internet, allowing users to enjoy high-quality audio without the need for large downloads.

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The jpeg2000 lossless of audio?  Lol..

(wavelet streaming)  the longer you wait for download, the more parts are “filled in”…and image in background keeps getting updated, so refreshing foreground image gives progressively higher resolution.   Would love to see that on streamers..  “play immediately”(something like mp3 160) , play at 50%(mp3 320) play at 75%, (lossy flac) or wait for entire download then play..(lossless)  easy as changing a menu setting..  of course I have no idea if flac can do progressive resolution analogous to j2k wavelets or not (or the newer jpegXL, ie progressive decode, though royalty free)






What a waste. To bad Qobuz was not more developed in the first place before Tidal started pushing MQA on everyone. 

Tidal has no option but to go the FLAC Hi Res route. It's an inevitable road with MQA going down the drain. 

Tidal held up MQA for a while but now it's over. 

+1 @romanesq completely agree. I’ve always liked Tidal for their UI, music Discovery, and Connect feature. Win/win for me IMO in respect to this necessary pivot from Tidal.