The world is mourning the death of music legend Prince, and the first thing fans are reaching for is his music. But there’s only one place to find the majority it -- and that’s Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal.
Prince licensed his old-school music exclusively to the subscription-only service, which he was a huge supporter of from the get-go. Streaming competitor Spotify previously had access to his music, but Prince removed all his content from the site last year, except for HITnRUN, his most recent album.
"Spotify is co-owned by record labels, who hold 20 percent of the company’s stocks,” Prince tweeted out last June.
"Spotify is co-owned by record labels, who hold 20 percent of the company’s stocks."— Prince (@prince) June 25, 2015
- The Daily Beast http://t.co/qQtZ02OOZr
The “Purple Rain” singer also spoke about the decision to Ebony Magazine last summer and said he did it because Tidal gave him control over the way his music was presented instead of relying on other people’s vision.
“We’ve changed the format of how our music appears. Where it would normally say "RELATED" and have a bunch of random stuff pop up—I love D’Angelo but he's just getting started, he came way after—what we did is we changed that to INFLUENCES. Then all these black and white pictures come up and you can go back and look at all the people who influenced me. Then in each one of those situations, Tidal allowed us to go and work on those pages,” he said at the time.
Prince said the problem with other formats is that there’s a lot of ‘”laziness out there,” and it’s an algorithm. He said he didn’t want to be a part of that.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also lacks rights to stream Prince’s hits on its Apple Music subscription service, though the company does sell his music on iTunes and his latest album, ‘HITNRUN Phase Two’ is available to stream.
Hours after his passing, the top eight spots on iTunes singles chart were all Prince songs: 'Purple Rain,' 'Little Red Corvette,' 'When Doves Cry,' 'Kiss,' 'Let's Go Crazy,' '1999,' 'I Would Die 4 U,' and 'Raspberry Beret.'
Tidal has been around since 2009 but was acquired by Jay Z in March 2015. It’s the only major streaming service that provides the same quality of sound as CDS and it pays better too.
The company has a royalty model which pays artists double the industry standard, which has been a common complaint among artists. Taylor Swift made headlines last summer after she withdrew her music from Spotify and wrote an open letter to Apple Music on their royalty models. Apple later retreated and said they will pay artists for streaming even during customer’s free trial period.
Tidal depends on pay subscriptions which costs around $9.99 a month for their music library or $19.99 a month for access to their CD-quality music library. The company released a statement via social media saying, “A genius, innovator, creator, family member, Prince will be truly missed.”
They also included a link to Prince’s dedicated streaming page where users can download any Prince song they want for a price.