As far as 2016 goes it hasn’t been a particularly good year for musicians, artists have been dropping left right and centre, which in turn has made me feel fairly bleak about the year. We’ve lost legends like; Maurice White, David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Leonard Cohen and of course Prince.
Prince, a man who’s said to have vaults of unreleased music, was very protective of his work in life. Now it seems he is in death too. In 2015 he pulled all of his material off Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play, making it just that bit harder for everyone to listen to his music. But a month later his new album HitNRun: Phase One was released on tidal, more material was made Tidal exclusive shortly after.
Prince praised Jay Z’s ‘artist-centric business model’. So you’d assume things were sweet between Tidal and Prince? (The Prince estate) Apparently not as recently the Prince Estate have recently filed a lawsuit against Tidal.
The Prince Estate has locked horns with Jay Z’s streaming platform Tidal, claiming that the company is streaming more than a dozen of the late singers back catalogue, without permission.
When it comes to licensing Tidal has an issue, they state themselves that they operate licensing agreements that are verbal as well as in writing, and this makes it hard for them to substantiate ownership over content. The Prince Estate and NPG Records state this exact point. (The following quote is addressed to the parent company of tidal Roc Nation.) “Have not provided any documentation substantiating Roc Nation’s claim that it has rights to exploit any Prince Copyrighted Works”.
Tidal basically came back with the claim that they had an agreement that they could have exclusive rights too Princes next two albums. But NPG still want the rights to these and all of Princes back catalogue. At this point it’s basically a battle over who can make the most money of a dead mans material. But I can’t particularly blame them; an album including posthumous unreleased material would rake in an obscene amount of money, especially if you have to pay a subscriber fee to listen.
Written by Tom White