Prince’s estate has sued Jay Z’s Roc Nation, which owns the Tidal streaming service, for copyright infringement, according to the Star Tribune, which reports that Tidal has been streaming the late music icon’s catalog without permission. Before the end of his life, Prince had been removing his music from streaming sites, with the exception of Tidal.
Now, Prince’s NPG Records Inc., and NPG Music Publishing have filed a federal lawsuit against Roc Nation for copyright infringement. Billboard reports that in July 2015, Prince and Roc Nation agreed to give Tidal “worldwide digital streaming rights to his next two albums” in addition to another never-released full-length album.
According to the agreement, over the following five years, Prince’s NPG Music Publishing would also “license the catalog” for use on Tidal. Jay Z’s Roc Nation claimed on multiple occasions that it has “both oral and written” proof that it has the exclusive streaming rights to the entire Prince catalogue of music, which can still be streamed on Tidal as of this story’s publishing.
NPG Music and NPG Music Publishing’s lawsuit against Roc Nation requests for a jury to be brought in to decide the matter and for Tidal to cease “streaming and selling Prince’s music other than [his 2015 album] HitNRun: Phase 1.” The suit also asks for Roc Nation to pay for “unspecified damages,” according to the Star Tribune.
On top of the ongoing legal proceedings between Prince’s estate and Jay Z’s company, Universal Music Publishing Group announced it won the “exclusive worldwide publishing administrator” position for Prince’s entire musical catalogue including previously published and unheard works.
A 40-track compilation album, Prince4Ever, is due out Nov. 22 via NPG and Warner Bros. and will house one previously unreleased track, “Moonbeam Levels.” Next year, the label will also release a second disc of previously unreleased material, of which a release noted that plans for the set “were agreed with Prince before he passed away.”