Jay Z's Tidal music streaming service has finally found a new CEO — for the third time in eight months. Former SoundCloud executive Jeff Toig has been hired to steer Tidal through the rocky waters the streamer has been experiencing as of late, as it attempts to compete with big players like Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music.
Toig has quite a challenge on his hands, as Tidal hasn't been making big waves in the streaming business when it comes to acquiring new subscribers. While the streamer got off to a decent start when Jay Z bought and rebranded the Norwegian-based music service back in April, the company has lost momentum and several top executives in the months since.
Tidal was heralded as a new business model in the world of streaming services, in which artists were given a stake in the company in exchange for exclusive content. In a highly publicized event, a varied roster of pop stars, including Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Madonna, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire and Chris Martin trotted out to publicize their participation in the service. Tidal also pledged to pay artists more than the going rate at its streaming competitors. A higher quality audio experience was promised as well, although at a premium price — $20 a month, double the $10 price of Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal's own regular quality audio streams.
Most music fans were unmoved by any of these differences, and the company's upper ranks have since been in turmoil, with several top execs leaving in short order. Although Jay Z heralded the company passing the one million subscriber mark with a big announcement at the Tidal X concert starring several of Tidal's top owner/artists in October, the event was a disappointment, and as we explained recently, one million subscribers was not really that impressive a number to begin with.
Now, Toig, who helped SoundCloud become one of the fastest growing music streamers worldwide, is charged with turning Tidal's ship around. While remaining mum on any real details, Toig has pledged to capitalize on Tidal's unique artist relationships.
"Tidal has a really unique set of assets," he explained in a recent interview. "It has exclusive content, deep connection with the artists — A-list artists — live events like Tidal X ... it's early in the game, but the seeds have been planted and it creates a really fascinating foundation."
With huge new competitors like Apple Music and YouTube Red having entered the field since Tidal's introduction, however, it remains to be seen whether Toig can turn the tide at Tidal.