Prince Estate Sues Jay Z’s Roc Nation
“Prince left his masters where they’re safe and sound”, Jay Z rapped on the remix to Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s club banger, “All The Way Up.”
But as reports continue to roll out regarding ownership of Prince’s masters, there seems to be some irony in Jay’s claim.
All is not well in music and business between Prince’s estate and Jay Z’s RocNation streaming site, Tidal.
The estate has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the music service for copyright infringement, claiming illegal streaming of Prince’s music catalogue.
According to RollingStone, the federal suit was filed by NPG Records and NPG Music Publishing on Tuesday. Apparently, however, there has been troubled waters between Roc Nation and the estate for months prior to the recent suit.
It’s a known fact that Prince, who was pretty much anti-industry and record deals, pulled his music from all streaming services in 2015. Well, one service received the “Purple One’s” blessing to premiere his LP Hit N Run: Phase One on their platform. That site being Tidal. Now, here’s where the controversial service crossed the lines, allegedly. In addition to the LP release, Tidal administrators went on to offer 15 lesser-known Prince albums without authorization.
This has the estate furious.
Last month, news broke that Jay flew Prince’s sister out to negotiate a $40 million deal that would put ownership of unreleased Prince music in his hands. That deal clearly went left as the estate inked a deal with Universal Music to become the worldwide administrator for Prince’s music, in early November.
In the current suit, NPG honored the initial Roc Nation deal, but also made sure to note that it was only supposed to last for 90 days. They claim that by releasing the additional 15 albums, the Roc Nation emblem began to “exploiting many copyrighted Prince works in addition to the works that comprise the Hit N Run: Phase One album.”
Roc Nation filed a petition asking the court to enforce what they claimed to be an agreed-upon arrangement with Prince concerning his digital catalog. But, according to court documents, the company has yet to produce any “oral and written” proof of said agreement.
Welp, can’t win them all.