Prince Estate Strikes Deal With Sony Music for 35 Catalog Albums
As Variety reported exclusively earlier this month, Prince’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment have inked an exclusive distribution agreement.
Under the new arrangement, the Prince catalog included in the deal will be distributed by Legacy Recordings. Worldwide rights begin immediately for Prince’s album releases from 1995-2010, with the others following in years to come.
The list of album titles includes “The Gold Experience” (1995), “Emancipation” (1996), “Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic” (1999), “The Rainbow Children” (2001) and “3121” (2006), as well as titles originally distributed by Sony including “Musicology” (2004) and “Planet Earth” (2007). Additional album titles from the 2014-2015 era will also be distributed with worldwide rights under the deal in the future.
Starting in 2021, Sony/Legacy’s distribution rights grow to include 12 Prince non-soundtrack catalog albums from the 1978-1996 era for distribution in the United States. Titles under the agreement from this period include Prince (1979), Dirty Mind(1980), Controversy (1981), 1999 (1982), Around the World in a Day (1985), Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987), Lovesexy (1988), Diamonds and Pearls (1991) and [Love Symbol] (1992).
Prince’s two all-time top-selling albums, “Purple Rain” (1984) and “Batman” (1989), as well as “Parade” (1986) and “Graffiti Bridge” (1990), are not included in this Sony deal; they are soundtrack recordings to Warner Bros. films and are subject to different terms. Also missing are several albums from the latter half of Prince’s career, as well as a few Warner titles including “The Black Album,” originally scheduled for release in 1987 but not issued until seven years later.
The deal also includes rights to other previously released singles, B-sides, remixes, non-album tracks, live recordings and music videos recorded before 1995.
However, the announcement includes no mention of unreleased material or Prince’s much-vaunted “Vault” containing thousands of unreleased recordings, which the estate recently moved from the artist’s Paisley Park compound to a storage facility in Los Angeles — or of an album of previously unreleased songs scheduled for a streaming exclusive on Tidal in 2019 that will be partially curated by Jay-Z. A rep for the estate did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
“A true artist and visionary, Prince changed the world with his music, bringing love, joy and inspiration to millions,” said Richard Story, President, SME Commercial Music Group. “Sony Music is honored to play a part in keeping Prince’s music alive and making it available for generations of lifelong listeners and future fans.”
“The Sony team’s enthusiasm and deep knowledge of Prince’s music make them the ideal partner to release these iconic bodies of work,” said Prince Estate entertainment adviser Troy Carter. “We’re looking forward to working with the heirs and Sony on giving fans what they’ve been waiting for – more great music from Prince.”