Prince Fought to Keep His Music Offline, but There Is One Place You Can Stream It

by Stacy Lambe 12:22 PM PDT, April 21, 2016
Playing Prince Fought to Keep His Music Offline, but There Is One Place You Can Stream It

Following the shocking news of Prince's death at 57, fans will surely mourn by listening to his extensive catalog, which includes 39 studios plus live albums and career compilations. However, for those wanting to stream hits from his collection, they’ll have to subscribe to Tidal.

In July of last year, Prince suddenly pulled all of his music from various streaming services -- Apple Music, Spotify, Rdio -- except Tidal, making it exclusive to the Jay Z-helmed service.

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Outside of the album HITnRUN Phase Two and a few tracks that feature Prince ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Live)"), which are available on Apple Music, none of the artist's music can be legally accessed anywhere else online. His music is available for purchase on iTunes and Google Play, however.

"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," reads Prince's Spotify artist page.

The move came two months after Prince partnered with Tidal to stream the Baltimore concert, "Rally 4 Peace," live and free for non-subscribers. In September and later, in December, he released both HITnRUN albums exclusively on the streaming service.

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Less than a month after pulling his music from Spotify, Prince slammed the service for its lack of royalties to artists via Twitter. "Essentially, streaming has offered labels the ability to pay themselves twice while reducing what is owed to artists," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Tidal claims to pay its artists the highest royalty percentage of any of the streaming services, with 75 percent of membership fees paid out to record labels for individual artists and songwriter distribution.

When interviewed by Ebony about the decision to partner with Jay Z's venture, Prince said that was imperative that his catalog was protected. Much like Taylor Swift, who pulled her music from Spotify, Prince was simply not satisfied with the service's business model. "Spotify wasn't paying, so you gotta shut it down."

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In the same interview, Prince also vehemently defended the rapper and his wife, Beyoncé, whom he thought had taken too much abuse from the public and media. "My heart is always on because I want them to do well," he said, adding, "When we win on this, none of us'll gloat."

For those not interested in streaming Prince's music can turn to MTV, which is changing its logo to purple for the entire day and will air a dedicated block of his most influential and memorable music videos beginning at 1:55 p.m. ET.

There are also a few live performances on YouTube and The Current, a local Minnesota public radio station, is playing Prince's music all day. 

While Tidal has not responded to ET about whether it plans to make Prince's music available to non-subscribers, Hoopla Digital announced that fans can listen to his discography for free with a library card.

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