By Hayden Wright
After Prince’s untimely death in April, many fans flocked to Tidal to stream his catalog when it became available on the service in June. Prince had been skeptical and reluctant to make his music similarly streamable during his lifetime, and the fate of his intellectual property was (and remains) unsettled. Now Jay-Z’s Roc Nation faces a suit from Prince’s estate alleging that his catalog was streamed without permission.
Billboard reports that new documents filed in court allege Roc Nation tried and failed to obtain managerial rights to Prince’s catalog “weeks” after his death. On the timeline, that could fall sometime before Tidal began streaming the majority of Prince’s popular releases. According to the lawsuit, Roc Nation had entered a 2015 agreement with Prince to stream his next release for a limited time.
The estate will argue that any prior agreements with Prince did not entitle Tidal or Roc Nation to stream his entire catalog in June. Curiously, reports surfaced in October that Jay-Z had entered a $40 million bid for Prince’s collection.