Peter Tonstad, the CEO of Tidal, the troubled music streaming service owned by Jay Z, has left the company after just three months on the job. The move signals growing turbulence at the struggling music streaming service as it faces increased competition from giant players like Apple and Google.

A spectacular press conference was held just this March, heralding Tidal as the next big thing in music streaming. A parade of top music artists was unleashed on the stage, including Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Jack White, J Cole, Daft Punk, Madonna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin, Jason Aldean, Usher and Arcade Fire. The service touted the fact that all of the aforementioned artists were also part-owners of the company and that, as a result, it planned to develop a special relationship with artists that set it apart from the pack.

The press and publicity shot the Tidal app toward the top of the iTunes App Store, but its ranking quickly plunged, as consumers felt confused about what exactly differentiated Tidal from its larger streaming competitors such as Pandora and Spotify. While the site promised exclusive content from the owner-artists and others, the reality was that most of those artists did not even own the rights to most of their music and therefore did not even have the ability to offer Tidal exclusivity to it. While Jay Z himself subsequently pulled some of his own early catalog off of Spotify, it was not enough to turn the tide.

Tidal also hoped to differentiate itself through a premium high definition offering, which cost $20, double the price of its streaming rivals and its own standard def service, but most music listeners have neither the finely-tuned ears it takes to notice the high def sound nor the desire to spend double for it. The company failed to even hit the million mark in subscribers, with the last count at just 770,000 compared to over 20 million for industry leader Spotify.

The company will now be run by executives in New York and Oslo, Norway, where it is based, until it can find another leader. Meanwhile, the competition is only stiffening as Apple is introducing its own highly touted Apple Music streaming service and Google just stepped up its efforts in the field by offering its Google Play music streaming service free of charge.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.