Judge Denies Prince Heirs’ Request to Scuttle Tidal Deal
In a letter dated Tuesday, Carver County District Court Judge Kevin Eide denied a request from three of Prince’s heirs to reconsider the artist’s estate’s recent agreement with Tidal, which was approved by the court in May. Attorneys for heirs Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John R. Nelson submitted a heavily redacted request earlier this month that, according to a response letter from the estate, requested reconsideration of that agreement on the basis of news reports that alleged Tidal had falsified its streaming numbers.
Included in the deal is a week’s exclusive streaming rights for an album of unreleased material that will be co-curated by Jay-Z and is scheduled for release next year; the agreement also settled “previously unresolved legal matters” between the estate and Tidal, which had been ongoing in the wake of the confused state of the artist’s business affairs after his death from an accidental overdose in April 2016.
In the estate’s response, attorney Lora M. Friedemann argued that “The Nelsons fail to raise any issue that merits reconsideration,” stating, among other claims, that their request is “based on accusations about Tidal reported in one newspaper article in Norway over six weeks ago,” which claims that Tidal falsified its streaming numbers for high-profile releases including Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” The Nelsons’ letter fails to acknowledge that Tidal has denied the allegations as ‘lies and falsehoods,’ and has stated that information ‘was stolen and manipulated.’ Unproven media reports do not constitute an ‘intervening legal development,’ or demonstrate that the Court’s Order was ‘palpably wrong in some respect.’
“The Nelsons’ request is meritless and should be denied,” she concludes.
The heirs’ attorney did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
In 2015, Prince struck a deal with Tidal that made it, at the time, the exclusive streaming partner for his catalog. After his death, most of his Warner catalog returned to all major streaming services in February of last year, but much of it remained either unavailable or only on Tidal while the two parties worked to settle the deal. That agreement was announced last month.
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