It's Really Hard To Listen To Prince Online

Wiping his classics from most music services is one thing, but Prince tends to be a bit excessive in his fight against copyright infringement.
Posted at 9:23 AM, Jul 16, 2018

If you're like me and you get random urges to listen to Prince at work, you'll have to buy it.

And I don't mean pay $9.99 for a Spotify or Apple Music subscription. If you go to Prince's page on Spotify or Apple Music, all you'll get are 10 songs — none of which are Prince classics.

In July, Prince decided to yank all of his music from from every online streaming service except Tidal, which boasts the pop star's entire discography, including his new album "Hit n Run."

Jay-Z's Tidal, billed as the pro-artist streaming service, pays an artists' rights holders 75 percent of the streaming revenue, whereas the industry standard is 70 percent. Guess that extra 5 percent was enough for the artist currently known as Prince.

But unlike Taylor Swift, who also infamously wiped her entire catalog from Spotify, you can't find Prince on YouTube, either. T-Swift kind of runs the place.

Wiping his classic tracks from the more traditional music services is one thing, but Prince has a history of being a bit excessive in his fight against infringement.

That includes claiming copyright infringement when his label asked YouTube to yank this video of an adorable toddler dancing to Prince's 1984 hit "Let's Go Crazy."

"This is a really clear case of fair use. It's a home video of a baby dancing, and there's some music in the background. And there's no way this would be some kind of market substitute for the original Prince song," Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Daniel Nazer said.

Prince's label, Universal Music, lost that battle, though, and the video was re-uploaded to YouTube in 2007. Now, the adorable baby's mother Stephanie Lenz has been given the go-ahead to sue Universal for having the vid taken down in the first place.

Takedown notices have even been issued for his covers of other group's songs. Prince performed Radiohead's "Creep" at the Coachella Music Festival in 2008, but when concert-goers uploaded the vids of his performance to YouTube, they were quickly removed.

Even though, it's not Prince's song. When Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke heard about the notices, he said: "Tell him to unblock it. It's our song."

That goes double for people performing his music. When asked about the popular show "Glee" covering his song "Kiss," he told the Guardian: "There's no other artform where you can do that. You can't go and do your own version of 'Harry Potter.' Do you want to hear somebody else sing 'Kiss'?"

Lucky for Prince, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it particularly easy to get content removed. When a takedown notice is issued, the content is generally removed first, and unless the accused files a counter notification, it stays that way.

So, yes, it's very hard to listen to Prince online, and that's exactly how he wants it.