It’s been barely a month since TIDAL has commenced and already Jay Z‘s new streaming service is already experiencing some major waves in its administration. The music service that is set to compete against Spotify, Rdio and Pandora has recently laid-off/fired 26 of its employees, including its first CEO, Andy Chen.
Andy Chen was the CEO of TIDAL, a title he earned when Jay Z had purchased, along with the streaming service, the Swedish music company Aspiro in March for $56 million. But on April 17, Swedish news site Breakit reported that Chen was leaving the company and specifics on why have not been released.
The day before, on April 16, Business Insider reported that twenty-five employees were fired or laid-off from TIDAL, which the brand currently denies as “incorrect.” They are choosing to label the departure of so many employees as “redundancies” and as an effort in “streamlining” its workforce.
On behalf of the company, a statement was released on its state of management and operation and included was an introduction to its new CEO Peter Tonstad:
TIDAL’s new interum [sic] 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.
Despite the high star-wattage press conference for TIDAL that included reported celeb co-owners like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, the service has been met with a lot of resistance of music listeners and buyers and musicians alike. Much of the criticism surrounds the attempt that bringing a “lossless” sound to their subscribers is merely a gimmick, that the $19.99 asking price is too much and that independent artists still suffer the most from not making as big a profit from streaming services.
The app has tried to sway subscribers by releasing exclusive-to-TIDAL content like Beyonce’s 7th wedding anniversary single “Die With You” and Rihanna‘s “American Oxygen” video. It’s also been reported that Jay Z and fellow artist co-owner Jack White were personally calling up new subscribers to thank them for their joining and using the app.