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Roc Nation clashes with Prince estate over streaming rights

Jay Z's Roc Nation company claims it has the exclusive rights to stream the late singer's music, despite a recent deal with Universal Music.

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A legal battle is brewing over the streaming rights to Prince's music catalog.

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

Jay Z's Roc Nation entertainment company and Prince's estate are showing a lack of harmony over the streaming rights to the late singer's music catalog.

Both sides have laid claim to the catalog in court documents filed in the past couple of months in Minnesota, Rolling Stone reports. On Friday, Roc Nation filed a petition asking the court to enforce a contract that granted Jay Z's Tidal streaming service exclusive streaming distribution rights to Prince's catalog.

The filing came less than two weeks after Universal Music Publishing Group landed a deal with Prince's estate to become the exclusive administrator of Prince's entire music catalog. That arrangement, according to Billboard, jeopardizes Tidal's exclusive streaming rights because Universal would want Prince's music on multiple services to increase revenue.

The Prince estate countered with another petition that accused Tidal and Roc Nation of streaming 15 rare albums earlier this year without authorization, Billboard reported. The estate goes on to say that there is "no proof" that a promised $750,000 advance was paid in exchange for exclusive streaming rights to Prince's "Hit N Run: Phase One."

The battle is noteworthy not just for the potential revenue associated with the catalog's streaming rights but also because Prince had strong feelings about music ownership. Last year, he removed his entire music catalog from streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, and he once compared music piracy to carjacking.

Representatives for Prince's estate and Tidal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.