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Prince won't stream music 4 U: Artist drops Spotify, Rdio

After Taylor Swift revived a public debate over payments to artists by streaming-music services, Prince is the next high-profile musician to pull his catalog off some Web venues.

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Prince spent decades trying to regain control of the rights to his music -- a luxury he's exercising by pulling his catalog from some streaming services. Getty/WireImage for NPG Records 2013

The artist known for "1999" is following the playbook of the artist known for "1989."

Prince is pulling a Taylor Swift, asking for his popular catalog of music to be removed from some streaming-music services.

Don't go to Spotify if you're hoping to hear "Raspberry Beret" or "Kiss." The service's page for Prince now lacks any of his music, instead posting the message: "Prince's publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible."

The vanishing follows a high-profile exchange between Swift and Apple, which launched its first subscription music service Tuesday. Swift warned she would keep her hit "1989" album off the Apple Music because of a royalty complaint: Apple wouldn't be paying artists any royalties during three-month free trials. Later that same day, Apple made an about-face and capitulated on the free-trial terms. It was reminiscent of Swift's high-profile pull-out from Spotify, a rival music subscription service, in November -- but Spotify and Swift never found common ground.

The saga has made Swift the standard bearer for artists disgruntled by how streaming services compensate them for playing their music. Prince has a storied history with technology -- five years ago, he declared the Internet was "dead" -- but he has been less vocal about the rationale behind his latest move.

Last week, Prince tweeted links and quotes from a Daily Beast article that compared Swift's recent campaigns against streaming royalty structures to Prince's decades-long efforts to regain control over the rights to his master recordings.

But that doesn't explain why his publisher, which is a company Prince founded, has asked some services to remove his catalog but may not have asked others. His catalog has been removed from Spotify and Rdio, and was never part of Apple Music, but it remains available on Google Play Music, the subscription service offered by the search giant, and Tidal, the streamer owned by Jay Z and a lineup of other music megastars. Songs of his were still available on YouTube by Warner Bros. Records, his current label.

In addition, Prince released a new track Wednesday on the streaming service SoundCloud. SoundCloud, among all the major streaming sites, has one of the least mature systems for paying artists, as it lacks any listener subscription options and began including limited advertising to generate revenue only in the last year.

Messages left for Prince's representative and his publisher weren't immediately returned.

Representatives for Google Play Music, YouTube, Rhapsody and Tidal didn't immediately respond with confirmations about Prince in their catalogs.

However, Prince can't keep his songs from streaming everywhere. Services like Pandora aren't exposed to the take-down requests from ticked-off artists because they pay royalties through a statutory system, rather than direct deals with labels and publishers. That means companies including Pandora and Sirius XM play any music they like -- which is why they're the only places you can find the Beatles

So why not enjoy a Prince dance party, courtesy of Songza?