Another Prince release, another legal snag.
Just days out from the first anniversary of the Purple One’s untimely death, a new lawsuit could sink a posthumous EP containing six unreleased Prince tracks.
According to reports out of the U.S. overnight, Prince’s estate and Paisley Park filed a federal lawsuit against sound engineer, songwriter and producer George Ian Boxill for control of the tracks on the Deliverance EP, which was to drop this Friday (April 21) through Rogue Music Alliance (RMA).
The aptly-named Rogue had just announced it would “honor” the anniversary of the pop legend’s passing with the special release, which Prince and Boxill were said to have recorded from 2006-2008. Its title track is currently available via iTunes and Apple Music (though not on Spotify or Tidal), with a CD version set for release on June 2. The statement also carried a link to princerogersnelson.com, where the material was made available as a download for U.S. users. The site, however, is not Prince’s official page and is not affiliated with his estate.
After Prince’s death, Boxill, who has worked with the likes of Janet Jackson and 2Pac, is said to have continued their work by completing the compositions and arrangements, finishing the production and mixing the songs.
“The songs were written and recorded when Prince was an independent artist, protesting what he saw as an unjust music industry,” the RMA announcement said. “In the spirit of that independence, and in supporting Prince’s opinion of major label contracts, ‘Deliverance’ is being released independently via RMA, a Vancouver, WA, based record company. The majority of all sales of ‘Deliverance’ will benefit Prince’s estate.”
Now, Prince’s estate and Paisley Park want the recordings back. While there’s no dispute about the authenticity of Deliverance, reps for Prince claim the release of is “unauthorized” and that Boxill is violating the terms of a contract he made. According to the lawsuit, Boxill signed a confidentiality agreement under which those works “would remain Prince’s sole and exclusive property,” the New York Times reports, and Boxill “would not use any recordings or property in any way whatsoever” and that “he would return any such recordings or property to Prince immediately upon request.”
The lawsuit estimates the value of the recordings at more than $75,000, according to a separate report published by St Paul’s KSTP.
A statement from the estate claims Boxill “maintained copies of certain tracks, waited until after Prince’s tragic death, and is now attempting to release tracks without the authorization of the Estate and in violation of the agreement and applicable law.”
Boxill and RMA have yet to respond publicly on the lawsuit and fans of the late artist will have to wait another day to see if those surprise tracks will drop as planned. Or perhaps there’s another surprise to come.
This Friday (April 21) marks the first anniversary of Prince’s death from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 57. To this day, the artist’s business affairs remain in a considerable mess due largely to his failure to leave a will.