Tidal has completed the process of converting six million music tracks to high-resolution, lossless FLAC format. At the same time, they have announced that FLAC, not MQA, will be the preferred format on the service going forward.
Streaming service Tidal is now taking the consequences of MQA’s financial problems and has made FLAC the preferred format for high-resolution music as of today. This was announced by Tidal’s CEO Jesse Dorogusker on the discussion forum Reddit. He further stated that the open FLAC format is in good alignment with Tidal’s ideals of openness.
It’s open source, allowing greater access for artists and fans, and aligns with TIDAL’s support for open platforms.
In practice, this also means that high-resolution music becomes accessible to more people, as it can be played on any newer streamer or DAC, while only a minority of hi-fi manufacturers have chosen to purchase the license to integrate MQA decoding into their products.
Initially, six million music tracks will be available in high-resolution, lossless FLAC format, with resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz. The change only applies to HiFi Plus subscribers with access to the so-called Tidal Masters recordings, as regular hi-fi subscribers already receive their streamed music in CD-quality FLAC format.
Despite the fact that Tidal has officially replaced the controversial MQA format with HD FLAC, it appears that high-resolution music files will be able to be streamed in both formats in the future.
Even if you are a Tidal HiFi Plus user, it may take some time before the transition to FLAC becomes visible. Initially, the high-resolution FLAC format will only be offered to users of the iOS app who have registered for Tidal’s beta testing program. For the rest of us, the high-resolution lossless music files will be available starting from August.