Jay Z’s Roc Nation Files Countersuit Against Prince Estate Over Recordings
The legal battle over Prince’s treasured music catalog is getting contentious as Jay Z’s Roc Nation filed a countersuit against Prince's estate in response to their copyright lawsuit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, attorneys for Roc Nation are accusing the estate’s administrators, Bremer Trust, of shopping the late Purple One’s recordings to competing streaming services like Spotify and Apple. Apparently, Prince’s estate wants to have the catalog available for streaming prior to the 2017 Grammy Awards on Feb. 17, of which a major tribute is being planned.
As we previously reported, Bremer Trust had sued Roc Nation last year claiming that Tidal made 15 Prince albums available for streaming after his death without their authorization. However, in Roc Nation's countersuit, they claim to have written and oral agreements with Prince to stream his music, but he allegedly did not turn them over to the estate or Prince's NPG Records label. They also question Bremer's credentials to sue them because the administrators are not the "real parties in interest" with regard to the claims in their lawsuit.
In a previous legal document, Roc Nation contends that Prince wanted his recordings streaming on their service. “Mr. Nelson spoke openly with Mr. Carter about the future of his music, and the future of the music industry overall,” said the letter, signed by Roc Nation CEO Jay Brown. “Mr. Nelson’s point of view on art, protecting rights and advocating for social good were directly aligned with those of Mr. Carter. He confided in and entrusted Mr. Carter and Roc Nation with his most prized possession, his creative expression.”
Reps for the Prince's estate and Roc Nation decline to discuss the legal case.