Jay Z and TIDAL never secured the rights to play Prince’s back catalog, according to the singer’s estate. That could cost the streaming platform millions in damages, and even threaten a shutdown ahead.
It was a fabulous coup for the upstart streaming service. In the days after Prince’s unexpected death, Jay Z’s TIDAL uploaded a trove of Prince’s classic albums for streaming. But did TIDAL have the rights to Prince’s catalog? Now, Prince’s estate says TIDAL and its owner, Jay Z, didn’t have authorization to stream the considerable collection.
And that could potentially cost TIDAL millions in copyright infringement damages.
A total of 15 albums are now in question, though it doesn’t appear that a deal was in place. Now, according to a just-released report from TMZ, those deals weren’t legitimate, and neither was TIDAL’s decision to post the material.
$750,000 unpaid debt.
Adding to the drama is this: Jay Z apparently failed to pay a $750,000 bill an earlier Prince exclusive. That involved the singer’s last release before his death, HitNRun Phase One.
Meanwhile, the financial situation at TIDAL appears to be deteriorating further. Back in September, the company post an annual net loss of 239 million Swedish kronor, or roughly $28 million in red ink. That included debt of nearly $19 million, with roughly 100 accounts unpaid according to one report.
Exactly who’s in charge at the Prince estate is unclear. In the absence of a will, the Artist’s massive assets and estate fell into the hands of court-appointed administrators, though we’re not really sure who’s calling the shots at this stage.
That said, stuff is happening. Just recently, plans were announced to open Paisley Park to tourists, a move that could create a Graceland-like attraction and generate millions in revenues.
More as this develops.