Prince Drops 'HITNRUN Phase One' Album on Tidal

Nandy McClean for NPG Records
Prince photographed in 2015.

Prince is observing Labor Day in his own, unique way. He’s just dropped his anticipated new album HITNRUN Phase One

The set, which features the previously-shared singles “HARDROCKLOVER” and “This Could B Us," went live at midnight ET exclusively on Tidal.

Though the exclusive is a surprise, it wasn’t a secret. Prince announced the distribution pact last month. "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 in2 their craft 2 achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry," Prince said in a statement in early August. "TIDAL have honored Us with a non-restrictive arrangement that once again allows Us to continue making art in the fashion We've grown accustomed 2 and We're Extremely grateful 4 their generous support."

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In a subsequent interview with a handful of journalists at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis, Prince described recording contracts as "slavery" and gave some insight into why he struck the Tidal deal. "Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves. Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves,” Prince is quoted as saying.

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Whether Tidal will remain the exclusive home to HITNRUN is anyone’s guess. Prince has yet to announce a more conventional release strategy with additional digital and physical retail partners. 

That said, Prince rarely does things to any convention. He released two albums in 2014 -- the solo set Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum, which he recorded with 3rdEyeGirl. Both went to No. 1 on dual Billboard charts. The legendary artist and notable Luddite then dismantled the social media accounts that his team had set up to help promote the sets.