Prince returns to streaming services
By Andy Malt | Published on Monday 13 February 2017
Hey, so Prince’s Warner-controlled catalogue is back on all of the streaming services. It was confirmed on Friday that Spotify would regain Prince’s music this weekend. A number of other services also subsequently confirmed off the record – and then yesterday on the record – that they would carry the releases, which have only be available to stream via Tidal since 2015.
Ahead of the Grammy Awards yesterday, with its Prince tribute, 25 of his albums and two singles returned to streaming services worldwide. As well as various compilations and all the LPs released from 1979 to 1995, there are also two more recent albums available from the otherwise still held back NPG Records catalogue – 3rdeyegirl’s ‘Plectrumelectrum’ and solo album ‘Art Official Age’, both from 2014 – both of which were distributed by Warner.
“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”, says Warner Bros Records CEO Cameron Strang. “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”.
He adds: “We’d like to thank Prince’s estate, Universal Music Publishing, the Grammy Awards and all of the streaming services for their great collaboration in making this landmark event possible”.
The involvement of Universal’s publishing company – now in control of Prince’s songs catalogue again – is significant, because it was by pulling his publishing rights that the musician withdrew his music from the streaming services eighteen months ago.
As well as returning all of this music to the streaming platforms, Warner also announced plans yesterday to release a new remastered version of ‘Purple Rain’, two albums of previously unreleased music, and two new concert films. And if you think that sounds like Warner’s just chucking stuff out quickly to capitalise on the current interest in the late musician, Cameron says no.
Strang insisted: “When we make any of Prince’s music available to fans – from the hits to unreleased gems – we are committed to upholding Prince’s high creative standards and we know fans will be THRILLED when they hear these albums and see these films”.
All of this was, of course, timed to coincide with the aforementioned Grammy Awards’ tribute to Prince. For that, Bruno Mars dressed up as the late star and performed ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ with The Time. In keeping with Prince’s approach to his music on the internet – particularly live performances of it – while he was still alive, it seems entirely fitting that this is the only official video of the performance that has been uploaded by the Grammys so far: