Prince’s estate has sued Jay Z’s Roc Nation for copyright infringement over Tidal’s claim of having exclusive streaming rights for Prince’s music, The Star Tribune reports. The complaint, obtained by Pitchfork, asserts that 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. Pitchfork has reached out to representatives from Roc Nation and Tidal for comment.
Roc Nation recently filed a petition claiming that there were “various agreements” between the company and Prince, “both oral and written.” Among these agreements, Roc Nation said, were the exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s entire catalog. Prince’s estate argue that those claims have gone unsubstantiated. They write that NPG Records “has terminated, in writing, any such license that might have existed.” The estate is seeking damages and attorneys’ fees.
Tidal has long been the sole streaming service to offer Prince’s music. In July 2015, Prince’s music vanished from all streaming services except Tidal. In May of last year, Prince streamed his “Rally 4 Peace” Baltimore concert exclusively on Tidal. When HITNRUN Phase Two was released last December, it was initially only available on Tidal. At press time, Prince’s catalog is still available to stream on Tidal.