Jay Z’s Roc Nation is being sued by Prince’s estate alleging that its Tidal service streamed his catalogue without permission. The late Purple Rain star last year announced a deal where Tidal would exclusively release his album HITnRUN Phase One.
In a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement, Prince’s estate said Tidal only had exclusive rights to the album for 90 days and that the deal did not cover the rest of his catalogue.
Tidal and Jay Z’s Roc Nation company “did not communicate” with the estate to “expand the offering of Prince works on the Tidal service,” the lawsuit said in a federal court in Prince’s native Minnesota.
The estate is asking for a jury trial to force Tidal to remove Prince’s catalogue and pay damages.
The streaming service has yet to respond to the lawsuit and Prince’s catalogue was still available on Tidal on Wednesday.
The company has struggled to compete in the streaming market against leader Spotify and Apple Music and heavily promoted exclusives, including the Prince catalogue. Prince died from an accidental overdose of painkillers in April and did not leave a will. Bremer Trust, which is in charge of his estate, has been looking for ways to ensure a steady revenue and has been negotiating future releases with labels. In the early 1990s Prince, who had a strained relationship with the music industry, changed his name to the unpronounceable “love symbol” and wrote “slave” on his cheek to protest against Warner Brothers Records, which had tried to put controls on his output.