Is Jay Z’s streaming service over before it’s even really begun?


The CEO of TIDAL Andy Chen has left the company in yet another controversy for the online streaming platform.

It goes from bad to worse for TIDAL, doesn’t it? Not only did Jay Z’s newest business venture fail to live up to the considerable hype it created, it was met with widespread criticism and derision. In a move that may be damage control or may just be the sign of a rapidly sinking ship, the company has reportedly “forced 25 employees to leave” including CEO Andy Chen.

He is being replaced by Peter Tonstad, a former CEO of one of their parent companies, who – according to a statement made by TIDAL – has “a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo.”

Whichever way you slice this, it isn’t good news. The official statement from TIDAL claims that their reorganisation is simply “streamlining”, but it feels a lot like a last ditch attempt to make the service something other than an unprecedented failure for Jay Z. Restructuring a company so rapidly and so drastically is very rarely a sign of good times and since we know that Jay Z is desperate enough for subscribers that he’s personally phoning those who pay for a TIDAL membership, things aren’t going to plan.

Whilst those who are interested in the music industry and in the artists who’ve misguidedly supported TIDAL know the story well, the fact is that the concept of TIDAL isn’t revolutionary or interesting enough to grab mainstream attention. Add to that an unreasonably high price tag and a seemingly insincere mission statement and you’re left with a service that people either don’t want or don’t know about.

Will new CEO Peter Tonstad be able to turn things around? It’s doubtful. For TIDAL to succeed, at this point, it would require an entire overhaul in philosophy and strategy, at which point the mud that’s been flung at it over the last month may have stuck so badly that its reputation is damaged beyond repair.

Can TIDAL come back from the wave of poor public reaction?