Prince’s label NPG Records and his estate are suing Jay Z’s management firm Roc Nation over a disagreement about how much of the pop star’s back catalogue the Tidal streaming service made available to its customers.
Tidal originally negotiated exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s music in 2015, but now his estate claims that the company “is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works” and may have breached exclusivity agreements and copyright in a suit filed in Minnesota.
Roc Nation countered by claiming to have “the right to exclusively stream [Prince’s] entire catalogue of music, with certain limited exceptions”, and cited written and oral licenses to stream Prince’s music.
The handling of Prince’s musical rights has intrigued many. After his death in April 2016, it was confirmed that the star’s legendary “vault” of music existed and contained unreleased tracks, which could constitute as much as 70% of his recorded music.
Last month Warner Bros confirmed they would released a deluxe version of Purple Rain, and it was estimated that Prince’s unreleased music could be worth $100m.
Paul Mason described Prince as the inventor of “post-death capitalism”, adding: “He created scarcity, interest and quality in the unpublished work – but showed no interest in how it would be exploited.”
Prince’s estate and record label are seeking unspecified damages and also want an injunction to stop Tidal from streaming Prince’s back catalogue.
This article was written by Guardian music, for theguardian.com on Thursday 17th November 2016 01.43 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010