NEW YORK (AFP) - Pop icon Prince has opened a new chapter in his fraught relationship with the Internet as he suddenly pulled his music from most streaming services.
A message that appeared on Spotify said that Prince's publisher "has asked all streaming services to remove his catalogue".
"We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible," it said.
The sole streaming service that still carried the Purple Rain legend's music as of early Thursday was Tidal, which was relaunched this year by rap mogul Jay Z.
Tidal has tried with mixed success to win audiences through exclusive content. It streamed much of a peace concert held by Prince in May in Baltimore in the wake of the death of an African-American man in police custody.
Prince was an early enthusiast of online music but in 2010 declared that the Internet was "completely over" and released an album only as a CD insert to several European newspapers.
The famously eccentric singer last year abruptly left social media, but recently returned to Twitter as he promotes his Hit And Run tour in which he announces shows with little advance notice.
Streaming - which offers on-demand, unlimited music - has been controversial among numerous artists who believe that they are not sufficiently compensated.
But Prince's move comes barely a day after Apple launched a new streaming platform that has led some holdouts to turn around.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift agreed to stream her blockbuster album 1989 only on Apple Music after the company stepped up compensation to artists in response to her complaints.
Hard rock icons AC/DC on Tuesday also joined myriad streaming platforms after long refusing.
Remaining artists who resist streaming include the copyright holders of The Beatles and country giant Garth Brooks.