Jay Z’s Tidal loses top exec
Interim CEO Peter Tonstad leaves the struggling music streaming company.
The interim head of Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal has stepped down, leaving the struggling music streaming company without a chief executive just a week before the launch of Apple Music.
The departure of CEO Peter Tonstad marks the second major change in the company’s top seat since it relaunched in March. Tonstad stepped in as interim chief after Andy Chen left the job in April amid a handful of layoffs.
Tidal did not say who would take Tonstad’s place on a permanent basis. Current executives in New York and Oslo will run the company until a replacement is found.
“We are thankful to Peter for stepping in as interim CEO and wish him the best for the future,” a Tidal spokesperson said in a statement. “Tidal will be transitioning to a permanent CEO as part of our strategic plan to create a leading platform.”
Jay Z, a rapper and mogul worth an estimated $ 550 million, bought the streaming service this year for $ 56 million with aspirations of creating a competitor to Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody that would have the best interests of artists at heart.
But the company fumbled early with a poorly received news conference featuring famous co- owners such as Madonna, Jack White and Kanye West. Tidal was criticized for appearing to assemble the industry’s top earners — referred to by some as the “Avengers” of music — to get more money from the growing streaming market.
Making matters worse, the Tidal app fell out of the top 750 apps downloaded on iTunes shortly after the news conference. It is now ranked No. 1,340, according to data provided by App Annie.
Tidal has about 900,000 users, up from 500,000 before the relaunch. The company charges $ 9.99 a month for access to its library of 30 million songs, but unlike Spotify, it does not offer a free, adsupported version.
Spotify, with headquarters in Stockholm, has 20 million paying subscribers and 55 million users who listen for free with commercials. Tidal is based in Oslo, with executives also in Los Angeles and New York.
On Tuesday, Apple will launch its own well- publicized service in 100 countries. Apple Music, announced this month, will feature a Spotify- like on- demand service for $ 9.99 a month, plus a free radio station dubbed Beats 1 and a social media component for artists and fans.
Apple has faced its own public backlash from independent artists and labels over its plans to not pay royalties during consumers’ three- month trial period. The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant reversed the payments policy after superstar Taylor Swift threatened to withhold her album “1989” from the service.
RAPPER and mogul Jay Z, shown in May, bought the music streaming company Tidal for $ 56 million.