Is it ever a good sign when your company loses two CEOs in the span of three months? It most certainly isn’t and that’s why it’s safe to say that Jay Z’s Tidal is pretty much in a state of chaos. The Wall Street Journal reports that former Tidal CEO Peter Tonstad has been “let go” by the company after just three months on the job. Tonstad was always intended to be an interim CEO but apparently Tidal didn’t want him to hold down that post any longer while it looked for a permanent chief executive. According to WSJ, Tidal “will be run by executives in New York and Oslo until a new chief is in place.”
This is remarkable for a couple of reasons. In the first place, interim CEOs aren’t generally seen as saviors as they’re often placeholders until an alternative is found. The fact that Tidal felt the need to let Tonstad go without having a replacement lined up signals things must not be going well — otherwise, why not just ride it out with him until a new chief executive is on board?
Second, Tonstad’s resignation comes as competition in the music streaming space is about to get even higher. Apple Music will launch in one week and streaming king Spotify recently announced that it now has more than 20 million paid subscribers. With competition about to get even fiercer for users’ dollars, Tidal decided that now was a good time to dump its CEO and run the company by committee. Again, that is not a good sign.
We’ll be interested to see what Tidal does to rebrand itself once it gets a new CEO. It’s pretty clear that its original game plan has not worked out.