It’s been almost a year since Prince left us, though time hasn’t straightened out the late superstar’s tangled business affairs.
The Purple One’s Warner Bros. catalogue, which represents his most commercially successful and critically-lauded period from 1979 to 1995, and covers such albums as 1999, Purple Rain and the Batman soundtrack, may change hands once more.
Just 10 weeks after Universal Music Group announced it had secured a deal to license Prince’s most coveted works, reports from the U.S. suggest the music major has dug deeper into the complicated deal and it wants out.
UMG execs are reportedly accusing the Prince estate of misrepresenting what recordings were available and when and, according to Variety, the music giant may attempt to nullify the deal and seek a refund of some US$30 million. And should that happen, those recorded music assets would return to auction.
The development comes after UMG boasted in February a new multi-year deal with Prince’s estate and NPG Records, under which the company would represent in the United States “certain renowned albums” released between 1979 and 1995, though specifics were left out of the initial press release.
With that arrangement, UMG was positioned as the main hub for much of Prince’s recorded music (the music giant also reached terms with the estate on Prince’s secretive “vault” of unreleased works) plus publishing rights and merch. Just days after UMG’s big announcement, a wave of Prince’s Warner Bros.-era albums arrived across multiple streaming services, in a bonanza timed to coincide with the Grammy Awards.
Variety has more on the complicated content situation, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
A six-song EP of previously unreleased material, Deliverance, will be released this Friday (April 21) to mark the first anniversary of Prince’s death from an accidental drug overdose. He was 57. Earlier this week, court documents were unsealed in the investigation into his death which suggested a doctor and a friend helped the late singer improperly obtain prescription opioids.
Earlier this week, court documents were unsealed in the investigation into his death which suggested a doctor and a friend helped the late singer improperly obtain prescription opioids.