As of Sunday, you can find Prince’s music from Warner Bros. streaming on all music services, including Apple, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon.com. Previously it streamed only on Tidal. Cameron Strang, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records, announced the news hours before the Grammys, where Prince will be honored.
“Prince recorded his most influential and popular music during his time with Warner Bros., and we are deeply aware of our responsibility to safeguard and nurture his incredible legacy. Warner Bros. is thrilled to be able to bring Prince’s music to his millions of fans around the world via streaming services, fittingly on music’s biggest night,” said Strang.
Prince’s music, which some consider made up of genius works of art, was something the artist held dear and tried to protect from streaming services and bootleg websites.
In 2015, Prince pulled his music from all streaming services and explained why he chose to allow it to stream on Tidal over the other companies:
[Tidal has] a million-plus subscribers. Spotify has 10. So if you imagine a million people in front of you? That’s a lot of people. So you gotta talk to them and you getting ready to drop something and all of ’em are gonna get it. What do you wanna say? How are you gonna move all of ‘em? Oh, now it gets interesting. It’s always going to be the peanut gallery and that’s all right.
My thing is this. The catalog has to be protected. And some of our fans were actually disingenuous. Taking the time to get their playlists together and yeah, it’s gone. Now you got to actually go subscribe to get the music that you lost on Spotify. Spotify wasn’t paying, so you gotta shut it down.
In November 2016, Prince’s estate sued Jay Z’s Tidal over the streaming exclusivity deal that Prince made before he passed away. From the looks of it, Tidal lost big time.
I’m going to venture to say that Prince probably wouldn’t be too pleased that all streaming services now have access to his music. But the saving grace is that it’s only the Warner Bros. catalog. I guess this is what happens when you die without leaving a will and family members are left in control of your estate?