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Tidal CEO out as post-relaunch staffing rejig begins

By | Published on Monday 20 April 2015


When Andy Chen, CEO of WiMP/Tidal since June 2013, told Music Week that Jay-Z’s acquisition of the company was a “game-changing move” he wasn’t wrong. It’s certainly been a game-changer for him. Because it seems he’s just been pushed out of the company.

Tidal confirmed on Friday that Chen had left the building, with Peter Tonstad – previously CEO and then Chief Commercial Officer at the streaming service’s former parent company Aspiro – taking on the top Tidal job in the interim. A spokesman told Billboard that Tonstad “has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo”. So that’s fun.

Chen’s departure followed speculation that Tidal would shift its powerbase from Norway to the US, where Roc Nation’s Chief Investment Officer Vania Schlogel has already become the public face of the revamped streaming firm. Though Tidal says that rumours 25 staffers had been axed from its European HQ were an exaggeration and that, while Tonstand was now “streamlining resources to ensure talent is maximised”, only a “handful” of roles have been axed, and all Tidal offices “will remain and grow”.

Ever since Tidal’s official relaunch via a spectacularly awkward star-studded press event, the streaming service has been battling against criticism of its service, its exclusives strategy and its claim to be more artist friendly. Though it remains to be seen if the “no such thing as bad publicity” mantra wins through, certainly the all-new Tidal has received much more press coverage that most of its rivals.

Meanwhile, possibly trying to overcome claims that the long line of A-listers wheeled out at that press event were just a publicity stunt rather than a team of fully engaged shareholders, word has it that both Jay-Z and Jack White have been phoning up Tidal subscribers to get their feedback on the service. Schlogel told Business Insider: “[Jay] called some of his fans and one of them made the funniest comment. He said ‘This is the best customer service call I’ve ever received!'”

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