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Streaming War Over Prince’s Catalog


Jay Z & Prince

Is Tidal streaming Prince illegally? According to TMZ and NME, Prince’s estate sent a letter to Jay Z last month ‘saying it had no interest in signing a deal for Roc Nation to exploit any of the intellectual property assets of the Estate.’ Jay Z offered around $40 million to be able to control Prince’s unreleased music, but it looks like the estate of the late musician is completely opposed to it. And it gets even worst, 15 Prince albums are available on Tidal and the estate claims they never authorized the albums to be available on the streaming service.

Does it mean Jay Z will have to pay? At the top of this, it turns out that Jay Z and the estate had made a deal for the 2015 release of Prince’s final album, ‘HitNRun Phase One’, but the estate claims there was no payment (a $750K deal) made.

To make things even more complex, Billboard reports that, a few days ago, Universal Music Publishing Group announced it had become the exclusive worldwide publishing administrator for Prince’s entire song catalog… But on Roc Nation claimed that there was a pre-existing contract giving to Tidal exclusive streaming distribution rights to Prince’s catalog. Tidal is not going very well, a few months ago, it was reported that Tidal had massive financial loss in 2015, something like $28 million despise the exclusivity of major artists, so it’s understandable that Jay Z is fighting so hard for Prince’s catalog, but you have to wonder whether this will be enough. At the end, why is it so hard for Prince’s fans to stream their favorite artist?

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