At this point, I’m surprised none of my friends or coworkers have had a stint as Tidal’s CEO. The Jay Z-owned music subscription service went through three chief executives in just two years and just hired its fourth: Richard Sanders, the former president of the Google-backed music royalties collection startup Kobalt, where he served for five years.
Even as the music subscriptions have exploded–and now make up most of the music industry’s revenue–Tidal has struggled to grow past a few million customers, despite the star power of Jay Z and several other big name artist co-owners. Earlier this year, the company got a $200 million investment from Sprint in exchange for ownership of one-third of the company. The Sprint deal offers Tidal access to the mobile carrier’s millions of customers, although the specifics of the deal and what it means for Tidal’s subscriber base have yet to be fully defined. Spotify recently reported that it has 60 million paying subscribers, while Apple Music is catching up with nearly half that.
Tidal—which is also in a dispute with Kanye West over money he says he’s owed—has been without a chief executive since March of this year, when then CEO Jeff Toig quietly left the company. Toig previously served a short stint at the beleaguered SoundCloud as its chief business officer.