Prince Estate Announces New Album

In April 2016 Prince Rogers Nelson died aged 57 at his home, in suburban Minneapolis Minnesota. Estimates of his estate range from $150 million to $300 million.

On the second anniversary of Prince’s death his estate has released an original recording of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U and launched two new websites – the retrospective Prince Discography annotated, and the fan focussed Prince2Me.

The estate announced that on September 28 a new Prince Album will be released which will comprise a set of songs created at the same time.

There are also plans for the release of a Prince memoir at the end of the year. The artist delivered 50 pages of handwritten work to a publisher before his death in 2016.

Prince’s previous executors Bremer Trust, struck a global agreement with the superstar’s former record company Warner Bros Record however Prince had entered a deal with Jay-Z’s music streaming site TIDAL a month before his death.

Comerica Bank & Trust, which replaced Bremer as administrator of the estate the day after the Universal deal was signed asked the Court to rescind the deal to avoid litigation, as it “cannot unequivocally assure” the court that the two contracts do not conflict.

Three of Prince’s half siblings Sharon, Norrine and John R. Nelson were upset that Comerica removed the contents of Prince’s vault from his Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota without their permission and shipped the materials to California and filed a motion to remove Comerica Bank & Trust as estate executor. Comerica has said the company discussed the move with the heirs.

Courts ordered an investigation into the nullified $31 million deal between the Prince estate and Universal Music Group. The deal comprised all of Prince’s music not under contract to Warner Music as well as the contents of his “vault” reportedly containing thousands of unreleased recordings. The deal was rescinded following the investigation of Warner’s claims it held the rights to some of the recordings included in the Universal deal due to expiration dates of Warner’s rights over them.

TIDAL claimed that the deal included the streaming rights to Prince’s entire back catalogue and exclusive rights to his latest release HITnRUN; as well as an additional unreleased full-length studio album and exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s previously released catalogue; in November 2015, Prince pulled his entire catalogue from all other streaming services.

However, the Prince estate questioned the validity of Prince’s agreement with Tidal. During the legal battle, Prince’s catalogue returned to all major streaming services.

The estate charged TIDAL with streaming Prince content illegally, and demanded specific documents be shown. TIDAL refused, saying these documents were confidential. The dispute was settled in April with all parties satisfied.

Two days after a Minnesota judge said it was in the best interest of the estate to end litigation and allow the deal to go forward. It was announced that a new album of previously unreleased music from Prince’s storied Vault would debut on TIDAL in 2019.

“I’m very pleased this is resolved, and we get to honour the relationship between Prince and Tidal with this album. We look forward to fans hearing the new music and experiencing the genius of Prince.”

The album will stream exclusively on Tidal for 14 days and will be available for download seven days after its debut. That will be followed by a global physical release by the Prince estate.

Jay-Z is working with the Prince estate to select songs for the new album.

There are also plans for the release of a Prince memoir at the end of the year. The artist delivered 50 pages of handwritten work to a publisher before his death in 2016.

Comerica and its lawyers have already collected at least $5.9 million in fees and expenses, and the lawyers for Sharon Norrine and John wrote “There is legitimate concern that at the end of the Estate’s administration there will be little, if anything left to pass on to the Heirs,” the $5.9 million doesn’t include a pending request for nearly $2.9 million in fees and expenses for Comerica and its lawyers.

The Carver County District Court has admonished everyone to keep spending under control, writing that the estate “is not an unlimited resource!”

It is worth noting that although Prince didn’t leave a Will and his assets were controlled by a trust the fact that he didn’t leave a clear direction for how his estate would be distributed following his death.

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