Despite a dramatic and star-studded launch just eight months ago, Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal never quite got rolling. Perhaps a new CEO—its third in the platform’s short existence—can right the ship.
Tidal announced on Tuesday that Jeff Toig, former chief business officer at the streaming service SoundCloud, will take over as CEO in January. Prior to working at SoundCloud, Toig spent more than four years at Virgin Mobile and founded a music company called Muve.
Jay Z, née Shawn Carter, bought the Swedish company Aspiro, which offered high-quality “lossless” music downloads, early this year for a reported $56 million. (Tidal’s website still says it is “a service from Aspiro AB.”) At launch, Tidal’s head was Aspiro’s CEO Andy Chen, but Tidal let him go after one month. The company then appointed a different Aspiro executive, Peter Tonstad, as interim CEO, but dismissed him in June. Tidal has not had a CEO since that time.
19 different artists have an equity stake in Tidal, from rappers like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne to R&B artists like Beyoncé Knowles and Alicia Keys to rockers like Jack White and the band Arcade Fire, according to the Wall Street Journal. As of yet, their stakes may not be worth a whole lot: In an April tweet, Jay Z valued Tidal at $60 million.
The entrepreneur has taken to Twitter multiple times, in fact, to defend the platform that Businessweek has called “a complete disaster.” One month after launch, amid negative press, Jay Z said the service had 770,000 subscribers. He has since said, at the end of September, that it has 1 million. If that is true, the figure is double the 500,000 subscribers Aspiro had when Jay Z bought it.
Spotify, one of many competitors to Tidal, has projected 100 million subscribers by the end of 2015.