Prince Bans Music Services from Streaming His Catalog
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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.

[RELATED: Spotify Reaches 15 Million Paid Subscribers]

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.”

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.