Monday, September 26, 2022

Prince Vault Shopped for $35M?; John Mayer Exits Tribute; ‘Purple Rain’ Deluxe Set In the Works

Prince's Vault of Unpublished Songs
Prince’s Vault of Unpublished Songs

*Prince’s prized vault of unreleased music is being shopped for as much as $35 million by estate advisers Charles Koppelman and L. Londell McMillan, a source close to the situation tells Billboard.

McMillan denied this report on Twitter Wednesday night, calling it “absurd” and adding, “There are so many false rumors. The devil be up all night! BUSY! Lol.”

The vault reportedly contains thousands of hours of music recorded over forty years. Sources say the estate has yet to begin cataloging the works in the vault. Ownership of certain unreleased material also remains unclear, as Prince was under contract to Warner Bros. from 1977 until the mid-1990s and subsequently cut one-off or short-term deals with every major label group (including Universal’s Republic, Sony’s Columbia, Epic and Arista, and EMI) and several indies as well as streaming.

The source also told Billboard that a deluxe edition of “Purple Rain” — which was announced as part of Prince’s 2014 deal with Warner Bros. but has not yet materialized — will likely be released in the coming months, possibly as soon as early 2017:

When Prince’s 2014 deal with Warner Bros. was announced, the wording of the press release suggested that the artist at least verbally agreed to issue upgraded versions of his Warner Bros.-era albums and mine his vault for previously unreleased material, beginning with a Purple Rain deluxe edition. (Several contemporaneous tracks were released as B-sides and many more have appeared on bootlegs, and several full concerts from the Purple Rain era were professionally recorded, including a March 1985 show that was released on the now out-of-print home video Prince and the Revolution: Live.) But when asked about the status of the Purple Rain reissue shortly after Prince’s death, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Cameron Strang told Billboard, “I definitely discussed it with Prince. At times he toyed with doing something with it and maybe worked on it, but he considered Purple Rain a masterpiece, and I think he liked it the way it was.”

A new greatest-hits collection is expected to be released later this year, according to Billboard.

Since his death on April 21, Prince has sold 1.95 million albums and 4.9 million song downloads in the U.S. through the week ending Oct. 6, according to Nielsen Music.


Thursday’s Prince tribute concert in St. Paul will no longer include John Mayer.

The musician pulled out of the event on Tuesday due to a “change of schedule,” concert promoter Randy Levy told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Performers still in the lineup include Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan, Tori Kelly and Prince’s ex-wife Mayte Garcia, among others.

Prince died in April of an accidental painkiller overdose at his Paisley Park recording complex in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen.

The case determining which of Prince’s family members will be officially declared heirs is ongoing. His sister Tyka and five half-siblings are likely to be declared the rightful heirs, but a judge is still deciding whether a purported niece and grand-niece and nephew should count as well.

The complexity around the estate reached another level last week when Prince’s Paisley Park studio complex in Chanhassen, Minn., opened to the public for just three days after a full opening had been announced. A wrench was thrown into the process just days before the opening when the city council voted against a rezoning request that would allow Prince’s estate to operate as a museum.




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