The timeless music left behind by the one and only Prince will finally be legally available on the world wide web.
Following whispers on Monday that mentioned the possibility of an end to the Purple Rain star’s long-standing block of his keeping his tunes out of the reach of online listeners, a music insider confirmed to the New York Post that many of the works the singer recorded during his days at Warner Music Group would be making their online debut on February 12, 2017, the same night as the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
“Prince’s Warner Music Group albums will stream on Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Deezer, and other outlets,” the report states.
— The A.V. Club (@TheAVClub) January 31, 2017
With the ban being lifted, fans of the legendary musician, who passed away last April at the age of 57, will be able to point and click their way to some of the greatest Prince music ever released, including the title track to the aforementioned Purple Rain, “When Doves Cry,” “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and others.
The full list of albums recorded by Prince during his time with Warner Music can be seen below. All LP’s after Purple Rain, minus the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, were released in tandem with Paisley Park, a subset label created for Prince by Warner.
- For You (1978)
- Prince (1979)
- Dirty Mind (1980)
- Controversy (1981)
- 1999 (1982)
- Purple Rain (1984)
- Around The World In A Day (1985)
- Parade (1986)
- Sign o’ The Times (1987)
- LoveSexy (1988)
- Batman (1989)
- Graffiti Bridge (1990)
- Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
- Love Symbol Album (1992)
- Come (1994)
- The Black Album (1994)
- The Gold Experience (1995)
- Chaos and Disorder (1996)
Following a contentious but ultimately failed legal battle to sever his contract with Warner Music in 1993, as Billboard notes, the singer began recording music at a fevered pace to expedite the process of fulfilling his obligations with the label. As an act of defiance against the Warner heads, he began referring to and promoting himself as an unpronounceable symbol, leading the media and his fans to subsequently note him as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince,” or TAFKAP.
In 2014, more than a decade after first going to war with Warner Music, the performer was able to strike a new deal with the conglomerate that also gave him proper ownership of the material he recorded with them. As such, he was able to begin striking back against both legal and illegal online purveyors of his music, concluding with his takedown in June 2015.
Until recently, those who wanted to hear any of Prince’s music while surfing the web were forced to subscribe to the oft-criticized service Tidal, the streaming music company co-founded by rapper Jay-Z, which still houses all 39 studio albums released by Prince throughout his career. However, a recent suit filed on behalf of Prince by his estate against Tidal claims that the service was only legally bound to host the last two albums that Prince ever recorded, 2015’s HitnRun: Phase One and Two, for just 90 days. The matter is said to be ongoing.
Prince was once notoriously protective of how the public consumed his work; going as far as to keep thousands of publicly-unheard recordings locked away inside of a vault in his Minneapolis Paisley Park enclave, before they were seized after his death by estate workers (Warner Music claims a deal is in place to release many of those songs on future posthumous releases). As such, the move to have Prince music ultimately become so widespread is something of a major push; not just in opposition to his previous wishes, but the time frame in which it is said to be occurring.
Another rumble inside of the music industry speculates that a star-studded tribute to Prince’s music led by Rihanna. Bruno Mars, and Prince-heir apparent, The Weeknd, will play out during this year’s live Grammys telecast. While nothing regarding the performance has been confirmed as of yet, it would stand to reason that if such a performance were to happen, Warner would want audiences viewing the special presentation to be able to sate their aural desires for the original versions of Prince’s music after it airs.
Following the dissolution of Prince’s Paisley Park Records in 1993 by heads of Warner Music, the singer recorded his work through his own fully-funded label, NPG (New Power Generation), starting in 1996. There is currently no word on if any of the Prince music from that time will be made available online as well.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]