Prince's Biggest Hits Coming to Spotify, Pandora & Other Streaming Services on Sunday: Confirmed
Prince's biggest songs are coming to music streaming services this Sunday in time for the Grammy Awards, multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed to Billboard for weeks. Exactly how many of the leading streamers will be joining #PurpleSunday -- and exactly what music will be available -- remains unclear, but on Thursday services began confirming on the record.
"The rumors are true ... music fans rejoice!" a rep for Napster (formerly Rhapsody in the U.S.) told NPR Thursday, apparently mistakenly. Later, Spotify confirmed with BBC News that they too will have the catalog -- which they all but hinted by blanketing New York's Union Square subway station with purple ads featuring their logo last week. A rep for Amazon Music confirmed with Billboard on Friday that they'll have the catalog on Sunday as well.
Reps for Apple Music, Spotify's biggest on-demand competitor, did not respond to requests for comment, although sources close to the situation have confirmed that they have the WBR rights in place. A spokesperson for Paris-based streaming service Deezer, which operates in the U.S. as well, did not respond at press time.
As for digital radio, Pandora confirmed with Billboard that users will be able to hear actual Prince songs in their purple-tinged stations, and iHeartRadio announced that it is adding the artist to its various tiers, plus launching an original iHeartPrince radio station on Sunday that will be available to free and premium subscribers.
Sources previously told Billboard that streaming deals for most of Prince's early Warner Bros. catalog -- spanning 1979 through 1996 -- will be in place on Grammy night. On Thursday, Prince's estate announced that it had selected Universal Music Group to manage licensing rights to the artist's unreleased works, plus his post-WBR albums under the NPG Records label -- meaning late-career albums like Musicology and 3121 will soon be streaming as well, although it was unclear at press time whether they will be available on Sunday.
The question of whether Prince's music would eventually make it to streaming services was all but answered in November when it was announced Universal Music Publishing Group had won the job to become exclusive worldwide publishing administrator for the artist’s entire catalog -- both released and unreleased.
Currently, Prince's music is only streaming via Tidal, though the circumstances around that arrangement are part of a larger dispute.
In documents obtained by Billboard, Prince's estate represented by Comerica Bank & Trust M.A, wrote a letter to Justice Kevin W. Eide on Tuesday (Feb. 7) addressing a restraining order by Aspiro AB, WiMP Music AS and Project Panther Lt ("petitioners"), Tidal's parent company, which may be seeking an injunction that could block other services from obtaining Prince's music. Billboard reached out the author's law firm, Fredrickson & Byron, PA, but did not hear back at press time