Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Music of Prince is Now on Streaming Services

As a guy who came of age in the 80’s and wasn’t much younger than His Royal Purpleness, I was greatly saddened last spring when Prince passed away at his home in Minnesota.
The man, who at one time changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, truly was an artist in every sense of the word.  While I didn’t love ALL his stuff, I loved a good portion of it and the artist known as Prince made a tremendous impact on my generation.
When he passed away, one of the things I was really bummed about was that I couldn’t stream his music.  I ended up just looping my Prince collection for about 96 hours until I could finally deal with the fact that he was gone.
But now comes word that his music is finally going to be on streaming services.  Supposedly his catalogue will be available on Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Apple Music.  While some of the services are speculation, the fact that the catalogue will be streamed is NOT speculation.  The announcement was made on NPR.  If you’d like to view the page, here is the link.  Otherwise here is the story:

After months of well-sourced rumors, the streaming service Napster (formerly known as Rhapsody) and another source have confirmed to NPR that Prince's records under Warner Bros. — which include the epochal classics 1999Purple RainDirty Mind, and Sign o' the Times — will be available to stream this Sunday, the day of the 59th Grammy Awards.

As the company wrote: "The rumors are true ... music fans rejoice!"

That Napster broke the news is a very strong indication that other streaming services, like Spotify, will also have the catalog. (Spotify and Apple declined to comment.) Amazon Music, iHeartRadio and Apple Music, that last according to an anonymous source, will also have the catalog available.

Many have noted Prince's aversion to streaming (apart from signing a strict deal with Tidal, he removed his music from most other streaming services) without considering his forward-thinking approach to both business and technology. For that, you could do much worse than the comprehensive accounting of the Purple One's technological and business history that Billboard's Jem Aswad laid out last year or Hasit Shah's essay on this site about the ways in which his attitude toward technology was misunderstood.


Even without his most famous recordings held off Apple Music and Spotify, Prince was the ninth-most successful recording artist of 2016 — so now we wait and see what, if any, digital records he'll break. Again.

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