After some testing, Tidal’s DJ feature is officially available. Now called Live, the option lets HiFi and HiFi Plus subscribers share what they’re playing in real-time with other paying members. Once you start, you just have to share links with others who want to tune in. You can’t mix and scratch, unfortunately, but this may do the trick if you’re hoping to host a virtual listening party.
As you might guess, Tidal is using this to promote both itself and artists. Musicians like Alesso, Aluna and Diplo are hosting Live sessions in the US, UK, Brazil, Germany and Poland, while Tidal will have genre experts playing picks throughout the week.
Live is available now on Android and iOS and works with over 100 million tracks. Tidal plans start at $10 per month. You’ll still have to settle for regular AAC tracks, unfortunately. For now, higher quality tunes aren’t an option. You also have to listen to DJs in the country where you signed up. You can’t tune into a German trendsetter’s session from the US, to put it another way.
This may be more or less alluring than similar options at rival services, depending on what you’re looking for. Spotify’s Group Sessions let everyone involve control playback, but only for several people. Amazon’s Amp, meanwhile, is more of a music-oriented radio show tool and (while we were trying it, at least) isn’t guaranteed to have the tunes you want to share. Tidal’s approach is simple, but may be ideal if you want to be the sole DJ without the pressure to speak up.
The catch, of course, is that everyone involved has to be a subscriber. Tidal doesn’t even register on Statista’s global market share chart — while it’s a known brand, you’ll be performing for a relatively small audience. You’ll have to convince your friends to switch away from the likes of Spotify or Apple Music to make the most of Live, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be willing to give up their carefully curated playlists and recommendations.