Tidal faces another setback after Prince's estate claims Jay Z's Roc Nation and its streaming platform Tidal are "exploiting many copyrighted Prince works.”
It's no secret Jay Z is having trouble getting Tidal off the ground. The streaming service markets its relevance through exclusivity via its lengthy list of co-owners, which includes Beyonce, Rihanna, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, among others. There was even whispers Apple Music had intention to purchase it, but that was quickly refuted.
One major appeal? Prince's protected catalogue is available to stream, though according to Prince's estate, it's not their choice.
In a complaint obtained by Pitchfork, Tidal was "only granted a 90-day period of streaming exclusivity for Prince’s 2015 album HITNRUN Phase One."
NPG Records claims that no other agreements were made and that Tidal “is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works.” One cited example of infringement is a July 2016 report about Tidal adding 15 Prince albums to its service. It’s also stated that Tidal did not attempt to communicate with Prince’s estate after his death.
Roc Nation responded to the complaint, filing a petition that says there were “various agreements” in place with Prince, “both oral and written,” which included exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s entire catalog.
Prince’s estate disputes that. They write that NPG Records “has terminated, in writing, any such license that might have existed” and are seeking damages and attorneys’ fees.
As we speak, Prince’s catalog is still available to stream on Tidal.
According to Jay, 99 Problems but copyright infringement ain't one.