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Think Things Couldn't Get Worse for Jay Z's Struggling Streaming Service? They Just Did.

Former Staff Writer
2 min read

If Jay Z’s got 99 problems, his much-mocked and commercially slumping streaming service Tidal seems like every single one of them.

The latest bout of bad news? Tidal’s interim CEO, the Norwegian media executive Peter Tonstad, has left the company after less than three months on the job, Tidal confirmed to The Wall Street Journal this morning.

Tonstad succeeded Andy Chen, Tidal’s first CEO under Jay Z’s helm, who left the company last April amid a round of about 25 total layoffs. Both Tonstad and Chen previously served as CEO of Aspiro -- the Swedish parent company of Tidal that Jay Z purchased for $56 million in March.

Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z as well as a faction of fellow chart-topping artists including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Madonna and, most recently,  Lil Wayne, “will be run by executives in New York and Oslo until a new chief is in place,” the Journal reports.

Related: From Tidal to 22 Days Nutrition, Jay Z and Beyoncé Are Facing a Fierce Branding Backlash

Besides the CEO revolving door, the company, which promises artists higher royalties, is still struggling to get subscribers. The Journal reports that Tidal counts just 770,000 paying subscribers compared to industry leader Spotify's 20 million.  

Tonstad's departure arrives on the heels of a major coup in the streaming world by another artist, Taylor Swift, who persuaded Apple to change its royalty-paying policies in a beseeching Tumblr post over the weekend.

Given Swift’s proliferating sovereignty in the music industry, perhaps Jay Z should consider passing the executive torch to the uber-savvy crooner? Though Swift, who is a notoriously fastidious business strategist and retweeted a message from Elvis Costello yesterday in which he called her “our future President,” may ultimately be casting her eye to an even loftier prize. 

Related: Why Taylor Swift Is Now the Most Powerful Person in Tech

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