Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, Rdio, Rhapsody, Amazon Prime. All seven and we’ll watch them fall. There are actually more than seven streaming music services, however, regardless of the number, none of them are able to stream music by the artist currently known as Prince.
On the heels of releasing a new track, HARDROCKLOVER, on SoundCloud, the Purple One has requested that, with the exception of Jay-Z-backed Tidal, all streaming music services should take down his music. That won’t be a problem for Apple Music, because he never gave the burgeoning service permission to stream his collection in the first place.
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The following message was posted on Prince’s artist page at Spotify:
“Prince’s publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.”
This includes all music from Prince, the artist formerly known as prince, Prince & the New Power Generation, and Prince & The Revolution.
Tidal, the hi-definition streaming service acquired by Jay-Z and “co-owned” by many others, worked with Prince to provide free live audio of Prince’s Rally 4 Peace event at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena in May. The concert was Prince’s idea to help heal the community following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and its ensuing riots. Along with their 60-minute stream of Prince’s show, Tidal promised to “match funds” of all donations made through their official site to support Baltimore youth charities. The collaboration may explain why Tidal is excused from the alienation Prince is doling out to other streaming music services. But time will tell.
Some say Prince is following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift, who took Apple Music to task last month for their decision not to pay artists during a free, three-month trial for listeners. But anyone acquainted with history knows Prince was the original revolutionary. From his original fight with Warner Brothers in the 1990s over masters and royalties to bouts in 2014 with fans who linked to bootlegs of his concerts, Prince has been dedicated to fair compensation and artists rights; namely his own. It seems that in all of his past efforts he has been ramping up to this recent throw down with digital music companies. The ThirdEyeGirl artist retweeted with a quote, an article from the Daily Beast entitled “Taylor Swift is the New Prince,” which stated:
“Spotify is co-owned by record labels, who hold 20 percent of the company’s stocks. Essentially, streaming has offered labels the ability to pay themselves twice while reducing what is owed to artists from pennies on the dollar to fractions of pennies on the dollar.” Prince even pulled most of his videos off of YouTube, recently.
On the other hand, Swift’s activism, although initially a public relations nightmare for Apple Music, eventually caused the iPhone maker to change tunes about compensating artists and draw in more musicians than they would have in the first place. Plus, Swift agreed to stream her music with the platform after all.
In 2010, Prince famously said, “The Internet’s completely over.” So unlike Swift, Prince’s “Bad Blood” is real.” It seems he isn’t necessarily concerned with getting the companies to do the right thing so he can join hands with them and sing Kumbaya. He’s looking to the future when he so eloquently prophesied, “One day all seven will die.”