Iconic music artist Prince died unexpectedly in at the age of 57 in April of 2016, but never established estate plan or will. Now this has caused serious friction over the management and distribution of the late artist’s estate, his assets and now, his prized and highly valuable music catalog.
There are many questions about who receives the benefits of Prince’s $300 million dollar estate. It has created a complicated a legal battle between the administrator of Prince’s estate, Bremer Trust and Jay-Z affiliated companies Tidal and Roc Nation, the outcome of which will determine who owns the rights to Prince’s intellectual property, including a vault of previously unreleased music.
In April of 2016 a Carver County district judge ordered that a special administrator be appointed to manage the estate of the late musician Prince.
Bremer Trust, National Association — an affiliate of the bank that provided financial services to Prince while he was alive — will serve as special administrator.
Fast forward to November of 2016 according to the lawsuit filed by Bremer Trust, Tidal only had rights to exclusively stream Prince’s newly recorded music catalog “Hit n Run” for 90 days, and committed copyright infringement by continuing to stream 15 Prince albums on the streaming service. The defendants claim that they have oral and written agreements with Prince to exclusively stream his work, but Prince’s label NPG Records claims to have terminated any agreements that were made before Prince’s death. In response to Bremer Trust’s copyright infringement lawsuit, Tidal and Roc Nation have challenged the administrator’s right to oversee the late musician’s work, stating that Bremer Trust “lacks the requisite authority to authorize the instant lawsuit.” The lawyer representing Tidal’s parent company has also claimed that Bremer Trust is not the “real party in interest” with regard to the claims in their lawsuit.
There have been rumors circulating Prince’s estate are nearing a deal to stream the singer’s greatest hits on Apple Music and Spotify, major streaming services. Roc Nation and Tidal have yet to file counter claims of copyright infringement