Prince’s death is sending fans flocking to their favorite online spots for tunes, but the late icon’s quirky stance on streaming services means you could be turning to Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora — and coming up empty.
The one streaming site that has the breadth of Prince’s music is Jay Z’s Tidal, which requires a $9.99-per-month subscription. (The company also offers a one-month free trial to new users.)
Prince had a special relationship with Tidal, debuting his latest album exclusively on the service in September and later selling it to nonsubscribers as both a CD and a digital download on Tidal’s website.
But people willing to search can find Prince elsewhere.
Google’s YouTube doesn’t have official videos, but it’s a trove of concerts and user-uploaded versions of his songs. And Google Play Music, the search giant’s subscription service, actually has his second studio album, “Prince” and a few other songs.
He occasionally posted tracks on SoundCloud, but his page was blank Thursday.
But finding the star’s songs on other major sites is more a challenge. Last summer, Prince and his publisher — a company that Prince himself founded after he took over the rights to his songs — asked some, but not all, streaming services to remove his catalog.
The world’s biggest streaming service by users, Spotify, was among the forsaken. Spotify relies on permission from the people who hold the rights to any song, and when Prince’s camp asked for his tunes to be removed, it pulled the songs.
Don’t expect to fire up a Prince station on Pandora to listen to him, either. In theory, Pandora can play any music it wants because it operates under a special licensing system, one that doesn’t require artist or label approval. But after Prince asked a number of streaming services to remove his music, including Pandora, the company said it was “respecting his wishes.”
And Prince was never part of Apple Music, the subscription service that the gadget giant launched last year.