Prince’s Estate Sues Roc Nation For Copyright

Prince’s estate has sued Jay Z’s Roc Nation for a copyright infringement, claiming that streaming service Tidal has been illegally streaming the catalogue of Prince’s music.

According to Prince’s NPG Records, a deal was agreed with music and sports management company Roc Nation in June which gave them permission to stream his music for 90 days.  Tidal have been streaming 15 Prince records up to now and according to Prince’s estate they did so without authorisation.

The lawsuit states that “Roc Nation, through its Tidal service, is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works”.

This is a big blow to Tidal who pride themselves on being different to streaming service rivals such as Apple Music and Spotify due to them paying higher royalties – some reports suggest that Tidal will be paying double. This underlines the fact that Tidal is for the artists, created by artists as when Jay Z launched the streaming service he had strong support from Kanye West, Coldplay and Madonna.

Jay Z relaunched the streaming service last year after buying Swedish technology company Aspiro via his own company Project Panther LTD for $56 million, who run both Tidal and WiMP.

Roc Nation‘s roster includes artists such as Rihanna and J Cole as well as sports stars such as German international footballer Jerome Boateng and Puerto Rican former boxing World Champion, Miguel Cotto.

Tidal exclusively debuted Prince’s 38th studio album ‘HitnRun Phase One’ in September, just two months after the artist took all of his music down from other streaming services. Tidal also exclusively streamed Prince’s ‘Rally 4 Peace Concert’ in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray. Despite these links with Tidal, NPG records say there was no further arrangement for the artists music to be used on the streaming site.

Earlier this month, Prince’s estate agreed a deal with Universal that gave them full rights to the late musicians music, which complicates the issue with Tidal even further considering the agreement gave Universal exclusive Worldwide publishing rights.

A spokesman for Tidal declined to comment on the story.

Words by Ben McQuaide

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