99 Problems and Prince is One

From the Desk of Lauran L. Stevenson

Prince’s estate filed a lawsuit against Tidal, the streaming music service owed by Roc Nation, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit alleges that Jay-Z’s company illegally added 15 additional Prince albums.

Both parties agree that there was an initial agreement between Prince and Roc Nation which gave Tidal the exclusive right to stream HitNRun; Phase 1 for a 90-day period which began on August 1, 2015. The lawsuit states that about 6 weeks after Prince’s death, Tidal began streaming additional albums and songs outside of HitNRun; Phase 1. Roc Nation claims to have several “written and oral” agreements that include the rights for Roc Nation to exclusively stream Prince’s entire catalog on the Tidal Service. So far, these documents have not turned up.

What complicates matters is that in the beginning of November, Prince’s estate entered an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Universal Music Group for Prince’s entire song catalog (released and unreleased). It is unclear now what will happen to this rights considering that Tidal is claiming exclusivity to the catalog under a pre-existing contract.