Image: AP

Back in September 2015, Prince released his album Hit n Run Phase One exclusively through Tidal. At the time, the late musician lauded the streaming platform‚Äôs commitment to ‚Äúthe effort that real musicians put in 2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry.‚ÄĚ That all went to pieces on Tuesday, however, after Prince‚Äôs record label filed a federal lawsuit against Roc Nation, Tidal‚Äôs parent company.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Minnesota, accuses Roc Nation and Tidal of copyright infringement, claiming that Tidal streamed Prince‚Äôs music without permission after his death. According to the suit, Prince‚Äôs NPG Records agreed to give Tidal the exclusive streaming rights to one album‚ÄĒHit n Run Phase One‚ÄĒfor 90 days. But following the singer‚Äôs death, Tidal began streaming many of Prince‚Äôs other albums, an act the record label characterized as exploitation.


Roc Nation, however, apparently disputes this. The lawsuit says that the company filed paperwork claiming that it had ‚Äúvarious agreements between the relevant parties‚ÄĚ proving the platform had the rights to the music. (The lawsuit says it hasn‚Äôt seen any of these ‚Äúagreements.)

The two parties have apparently been involved in a back-and-forth for some time, but Tuesday’s lawsuit has escalated matters.

The legal mess is further complicated by a recent deal between Prince‚Äôs estate and Universal Music Publishing Group in which the latter company was named the ‚Äúthe exclusive worldwide publishing administrator‚ÄĚ for all of Prince‚Äôs music. Tidal filed paperwork last week that took issue with the agreement, however, and said the previous contract gave it exclusive streaming rights, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. (We‚Äôve reached out to Tidal, and we‚Äôll update if we hear back.)


It’s not yet clear which albums the estate is trying to protect, but as Rolling Stone points out:

On June 7th, for what would have been Prince‚Äôs 58th birthday, Tidal added 15 lesser-known albums from Prince‚Äôs catalog‚ÄĒincluding his Black Album and Crystal Ball‚ÄĒas well as LPs from his ‚ÄúArtist Formerly Known As‚ÄĚ period, live albums, the Girl 6 soundtrack and two New Power Generation albums.

Read the whole lawsuit here:


[Associated Press]