Yesterday, Plex announced some huge additions and changes to the music side of your media server. These were so important/awesome that I had to get this out to you in case you hadn't seen it yet. Among many things, Plex has added a deep integration with Tidal, some massive mobile player overhauls, an improved shuffle system, discoverability options, and more.
Of course, Plex is most excited about the partnership with music streaming service Tidal. This integration not only allows browsing the latter's entire catalog right within your favorite Plex app, but it adds a whole bunch more. We're talking new artist recommendations based on the ones you have in your server, missing album suggestions determined by what you own and what you don't, and new artist radio stations that can include tracks from Tidal if you so choose.
But we're not done with the new stuff. There's also a Spotify-style new releases section to help you keep up on all of your favorite artists, universal playlists that let you mix songs from your server, shared servers, and Tidal, a broader search that brings up options from your library and Tidal, and a brand new discovery radio to help you find new stuff to listen to. You can even export your Plex playlists to Tidal with Soundiiz.
The Android and iOS player is also getting a big overhaul, so here's what Plex says is new (a lot of which has been seen before in Plexamp). Be sure to pay attention to what features require a Plex Pass:
- Highest quality audio: Direct play of streamed FLAC, ALAC, MP3, AAC, APE and MPC. Floating point processing pipeline. For low-bandwidth scenarios, we offer best-in-class transcodes (Opus is an amazing codec).
- Gapless: For you Dave Matthews, Phish and EDM fans, you can now have seamless transitions between tracks.
- Loudness leveling: [Plex Pass] Normalizes audio levels between tracks and albums. You can’t live without it when you’re shuffling, unless you want to develop carpal tunnel from reaching for the volume knob.
- Sweet fades: [Plex Pass] Crossfades are tired. Sweet fades are wired. Dumb crossfades just overlap tracks by a fixed amount; our sweet fades compute the optimal crossover point between every single pair of tracks and use that to deliver an ear-delighting mix.
- Advanced hybrid caching: Especially in mobile environments, caching ahead is key! Our player not only caches the entire current track to disk, but will read ahead the entire next track as well, to ensure continuous playback even across network transitions and glitches. The cache also stores recently played tracks so you can avoid cellular usage when possible. Keep the music playing!
- Soft pauses: Details matter. We do a gentle fade out/in when you’re pausing. Life is harsh, interruptions to your music shouldn’t be.
- Silence compression: [Plex Pass] Ever listen to a podcast where there’s quite a bit of dead air? Our advanced silence compression feature shrinks periods of silence in spoken word content like Podcasts. Often you’ll see a 10% speedup with virtually no perceptible difference. And remember, time is the most valuable thing.
- Voice boost: [Plex Pass] Interesting fact: not every podcast producer has high quality studio equipment and trained audio engineers on staff. Not to worry though, our sophisticated voice-boosting compression algorithm makes it seem like they do.
Finally, Plex has also adjusted the shuffle system to be better. Dubbed Magic Artist Shuffle, it takes your listening history, ratings, duplicate tracks, popularity, and more to create a better listening experience. As a person who just puts artists on shuffle while I'm working or playing Destiny 2, I'm very excited about this, especially since many of my artists have duplicate tracks (like if I own an EP and the subsequent album).
The Tidal integration does not require a server to enjoy within Plex, but you do need a subscription. It's not super clear if you need a Plex Pass for all of the new features, but it's implied that you do. Luckily, you can pick up a free month of Tidal through Plex to try it out — Pass users get 10% off for a limited time, making the Tidal Premium subscription $8.99/month and the HiFi upgrade $18.99/month.