When will Jay Z‘s TIDAL catch a break?
Because since launching last year, the service has encountered one hurdle after the other.
The latest comes courtesy of the estate of the late, great Prince, who are none-too-pleased with the streaming platform’s exploitation of his music.
Full story below…
The Star Tribune reports that the Purple one’s legal team have filed a copyright lawsuit against Roc Nation over TIDAL’s claim of having exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s music.
Per the suit, TIDAL was allegedly only granted a 90-day period of streaming exclusivity for Prince’s 2015 album ‘HITNRUN Phase One.’
NPG Records asserts that no other agreements were made and that the streaming service “is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works.” A cited example of the argued infringement is a July 2016 report touting TIDAL making 15 Prince albums available on its platform.
Making the whole matter more troublesome is NPG’s claim that no one from camp Jay made contact with them after the singer’s shocking death in April.
By no means passive, Roc Nation have already filed a petition that re-affirms their “various agreements” with Prince — “both oral and written.”
According to the entertainment juggernaut, exclusive streaming rights to the star’s entire catalogue were one of the central agreements in place.
Undeterred, Prince’s estate have clapped back saying that proof of such agreements have yet to surface. And so as to leave no debate about their stance on the matter, they add that NPG Records “has terminated, in writing, any such license that might have existed.”
The estate is seeking undisclosed damages and lawyer fees. [Source]
While some folk will be quick to view this as just another mishap in the TIDAL narrative (which it kinda is), it’s also important to consider a few key facts.
As reported, a number of major deals have recently been struck as pertains to the publishing and label servicing of Prince’s released and unreleased material. All of which center around maximising their commercial potential.
With TIDAL owning such a small piece of the streaming pie, any such hope of Prince having a “Michael Jackson” sized posthumous career would be overly optimistic should his music remain exclusive to the service. Especially given the heavy weighting of streaming in today’s age and the popularity of rival services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
From where we’re standing, this looks like a power struggle between two parties who clearly see a lucrative business opportunity in front of them.
Uncertain times lay ahead, but one thing’s for sure: this already sticky situation looks set to get all sorts of messy.