|Prince’s New group 3RDEYEGIRL is releasing HITNRUN on Sept. 7th, via Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service|
Jay Z has convinced Prince of doing something the major music companies could not accomplish – offering his music for fans to stream. Thanks to Jay Z and his new service Tidal, Prince is back in the streaming arena.
Prince flirted with Tidal during the riots in Baltimore, which broadcast the singer’s benefit performance for the riot-torn city. Now, thanks to a deal negotiated by Jay Z, Prince’s past catalog of classic albums like 1999 and Purple Rain are now exclusively with Tidal, as is his new album HITNRUN with the band 3RDEYEGIRL.
And it only took Jay Z one meeting to impress the Purple One.
“After one meeting, it was obvious that Jay Z and the team he has assembled at Tidal recognize and applaud the effort that real musicians put in 2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry,” Prince said in a statement.
“In the tech-savvy, real-time world We all live in 2day, everything is faster,” Prince noted. “From its conception and that one & only meeting, HITNRUN took about 90 days 2 prepare its release. If that’s what freedom feels like, HITNRUN is what it sounds like.”
While Jay Z may have staunch critics of his service, there is s no doubt landing Prince’s albums is a major coup. And the fact that Prince is so willing to work with Jay Z is even more amazing.
Prince is well-known for battling the music industry. His Purple Highness refused to do live shows and interviews starting in 1985, thanks to a dispute with Warner Bros.
In 1993, Prince modified his name to a symbol and emerged publicly with the word “slave” on his cheek. The singer was protesting the corporate policies of Warner Bros. He started doing press again around 1996, when he dropped his first post-Warner Bros. album Emancipation.
Prince is pretty tech savvy within his own right. His label NPG Records was offering a subscription service to fans via his NPGMusicClub.com as early as the year 2000. Before Spotify, Apple Music, hell even iPhones, Prince won a Webby Award for the site (2006) and his ambitious plans for the Internet.
Even back then Prince was hard at work on the Internet, bundling concert tickets with albums, selling downloads and up selling exclusive content to his own fan base with success.
Prince was also aggressive in keeping his material off of social media sites like YouTube.com, where he was known to file lawsuits against people who posted any of his copyrighted music. Despite the reach of Spotify, Apple and others Prince pulled his music from all the services in July, in anticipation of the deal to apparently better monetize his content with Jay’s Tidal service.
Spotify and Prince fans using the services immediately felt the impact.
“Prince’s publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog,” Spotify said in a statement released in early July. “We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.”
It does not look like Prince will be returning to Spotify, or Apple Music anytime soon, according to rapper Jay Z, who purchased Tidal from a Swedish company earlier this year.
“Both Prince and Tidal share the belief that all creatives should have the opportunity to speak directly to those that love and support them,” Jay Z said. “This partnership with Prince represents Tidal’s philosophy in its truest form, a 1 to 1 connection and direct delivery of artistry to the world.”
For now, Prince joins a group of artists like Lil Wayne, Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Coldplay and others, who are backing Tidal, which offers a higher royalty rate for streams.
A search of Prince’s music on Spotify or Apple Music returns nothing but crappy covers and tribute songs – a major win for Tidal.