Prince’s music is at the centre of a row between Universal Music Publishing Group and Tidal.
The late ‘Purple Rain’ hitmaker’s estate agreed earlier this week to sell the singer’s songwriting rights to Universal – meaning his music could become more widely available to stream – but the Jay Z’s company have insisted they have exclusive rights to the work.
According to the New York Post newspaper, Tidal – who put out Prince’s final albums, ‘Hit n Run Phase One’ and ‘Hit n Run Phase Two’ — began lobbying a Minnesota court before the Universal deal was struck, claiming the ‘1999’ singer had granted them exclusive rights to his catalogue of master recordings.
Last month, Tidal submitted a legal letter to probate court Judge Kevin Eide and claimed they would seek injunctive relief if any deals struck by Prince’s estate – which still has ownership of his songs – violate the agreement they made with the star.
According to Tidal, Prince had agreed to grant them streaming rights to a ‘Hit n Run’ remix album, another new LP and the rights to his back catalogue.
However, a source claimed Tidal only had a one-year deal to stream Prince’s music and are not entitled to rights in the long term.
Prince’s estate is managed by industry veterans L. Londell McMillan and Charles Koppelman – who were appointed by bank Bremer Trust – but the ‘Little Red Corvette’ hitmaker’s siblings are reportedly not happy with McMillan and are also keen on being involved with controlling the rights to his music.
In 2015, the singer – who died from an overdose in April – pulled all his music from other streaming apps such as Spotify.