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Jay-Z’s Tidal chose a new CEO who actually has experience in the music business

jay z
Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File
Changing everything, again.
By Ashley Rodriguez
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Jay-Z’s Tidal has a new chief executive. And after a tumultuous eight months with a revolving door of top executives, the hip-hop mogul must be hoping this one sticks.

Former SoundCloud chief business officer Jeff Toig is set to take the reins of the music-streaming service in January, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall). His SoundCloud background, coupled with his experience running an on-demand streaming service at the platform he founded—Muve Music—may make him the most-experienced Tidal chief executive yet when it comes to the music business. 

Toig’s predecessor, Peter Tonstad, who lasted two months in his gig as interim CEO, came from a string of Norway-based media and technology companies, according to his LinkedIn profile, including technology firm Tarantell and newspaper publishers Edda Media and Dagens Næringsliv. He also held executive positions at Tidal parent company Aspiro since 2010 before taking on the CEO role.

The chief executive before him, Andy Chen, hailed from the advertising agency world where he focused on digital media and strategy before heading up Viacom Digital International in Europe, according to LinkedIn and an interview with Business Insider, where Chen acknowledged the challenges of dealing with the music industry as an outsider. In the 1990s, he also worked in marketing at Universal Music Group for a stint.

Toig, for his part, oversaw content-creator and technology partnerships at audio-sharing platform SoundCloud for the past two years, while helping develop new revenue streams for the service. He joined the Berlin-based company from Cricket Wireless, where he served as vice president in charge of Muve Music, a streaming service he founded that was rolled into customers’ wireless plans.

Based on those credentials, Toig appears to be the most music-savvy of the bunch. But knowing the music business isn’t exactly a pre-requisite to running a streaming platform. Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews hails from the advertising world and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek comes from the technology side. Apple Music, led by Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine, also boasts a wealth of hardware and software expertise from Apple.

But with competition heating up among streaming services, knowing the industry can’t hurt. Of course, Tidal already has music mogul Jay-Z in its corner, and the verdict is still out on how that much has helped the platform.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Toig aims to grow Tidal by managing costs—which are slightly higher than rival Spotify’s because Tidal pays out more to artists—and expanding other services like Tidal concerts, exclusive live-streamed performances, and access to artists.

Tidal did not immediately reply to Quartz’s request for comment.

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