Even with the huge roll-out and focus on hi-fi sound, Jay Z’s new Tidal streaming service has taken some hits. Almost immediately after its launch, music listeners complained that the $20 cost for the premium service was too expensive and some artists even denounced the brand altogether.
There are now reports Tidal’s staff is facing major upheaval as well. Andy Chen has been replaced as CEO and other positions are being reduced. Peter Tonstad, former chief executive of Tidal’s parent company Aspiro, has returned as the interim head of Tidal.
Business Insider published a statement from Tidal about Chen’s departure:
TIDAL’s new [interim] CEO is Peter Tonstad – a former CEO of parent company Aspiro Group. He has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo. He’s streamlining resources to ensure talent is maximized to enhance the customer experience. We’ve eliminated a handful of positions and refocused our company-wide talent to address departments that need support and cut redundancies. TIDAL’s offices globally will remain and grow: we are already hiring for several new positions now. We’re excited about our future and what’s in-store for fans who want the best listening experience.
Peter Tonstad also gave a statement to the Swedish news site Breakit:
I believe in TIDAL and what the team is doing to affect the change the music industry needs. We’re streamlining the company and refocusing our resources to ensure the platform continues to grow, and listeners can make a connection to their favorite artists. No one else is doing this.
While stars like Beyoncé, Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, and J. Cole have signed on as part owners of Tidal, there are also musicians that are not supportive of the “artist-owned” platform. Rock band Mumford & Sons criticized the streaming payout for independent acts.
“I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain,” said frontman Marcus Mumford in an interview withThe Daily Beast . “A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”
British singer-songwriter Lily Allen also blasted Tidal’s potential unfair treatment of rising artists. In a series of tweets, she wrote, “People are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves, sending traffic to torrent sites. Up-and-coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result… my concern is that Tidal may set emerging artists back.”