Prince had thousands of songs and fully produced unreleased videos in his vault

Prince live in Birmingham in 2014
It’s been a terrible year so far for celebrity deaths and so many of us have been hit hard by Prince’s passing at just 57. It seems like we just lost Bowie and now another music staple is gone. Prince changed the history of music not only through his own unique style but by writing hits recorded by other artists. Most people know he did Sinead O’Conner’s haunting song “Nothing Compares 2 U” but since his passing I’ve been surprised to learn that he also wrote hits like “Jungle Love” by Morris Day and The Time, Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” and The Bangles’ “Manic Monday.” Prince was prolific, and he was touring and doing shows up until just a week ago when he did his last concert in Atlanta.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was watching an old video of Kevin Smith talking about how he had worked with Prince for about a week, around the time that Dogma came out, 1999/2000 to record what would be a documentary. Prince ended up not using the footage and Prince’s personal assistant explained to Kevin that this was typical, that Prince would often have entire elaborate music videos produced and then just put them away in his vault. Now there’s news that Prince did this so often that there are thousands of unreleased songs and videos just sitting there. The question is who owns this music and if Prince had a legal plan in place to transfer ownership of his estate and work. He was famously protective of his music and worked for years to regain ownership of his masters from Warner Brothers.

Sky News has an informative piece about what could happen to all of Prince’s unreleased material. It really depends on if he had an estate plan or will.

It is well known that the singer-songwriter kept thousands of songs in the so-called “Vault” at his Paisley Park complex in Minnesota.

The artist fought many battles with record labels over his music, which he wanted to release more frequently.

When he fell out with Warner Brothers Records and changed his name in the early 90s he fulfilled his contractual obligations by releasing lacklustre music which failed to light up the charts.

Prince found it “abhorrent” that he would “use that type of intellectual creativity and pour everything into it and give to people only to have somebody else own it at the end of the day,” Owen Husney, the star’s first manager, told Reuters.

Insiders and fans believe this means some of his best work is still stashed away.

Last year, Prince’s former sound engineer Susan Rogers told The Guardian the recordings are in an “actual bank vault, with a thick door”.

Composer Brent Fischer, who worked with Prince for over 30 years, said he believes “over 70%” of the music he and his father Clare Fischer have helped create is yet to be released.

The singer is thought to be worth over £200m but if his estate releases this material, that figure is likely to rise much higher.

“Ownership of his catalogue will follow his estate,” veteran Los Angeles-based entertainment lawyer Jay Cooper said.

“Ownership of the masters will go to whoever inherits it from his estate.”

The key unanswered question about the fate of Prince’s intellectual property is whether the recording artist had a valid will or estate plan in place at the time of his death, lawyers said.

[From Sky News]

It might take years before this issue is settled enough that we can actually see and hear Prince’s work. It’s kind of fascinating that he would put so much effort into work just stored away indefinitely. Prince died tragically and unexpectedly but I hope he had an estate plan and will, if only for the selfish reason that I want to hear more of his music . He was a talented, hardworking eccentric genius, taken way too young.

This is Prince’s 2007 Superbowl performance:

And Prince performing Purple Rain on Arsenio in 1991. I can’t listen to this it’s making me too sad. He also did an interview with Arsenio in 2014, you can watch that here.

**File Photos**


Prince Dies At 57 ***FILE PHOTOS***

Prince performing in concert of NUDE-TOUR

photos credit: and FameFlynet

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23 Responses to “Prince had thousands of songs and fully produced unreleased videos in his vault”

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  1. Angelica says:

    Omg. I NEED!!!

  2. kri says:

    The Arsenio performance dropped me yesterday. I don’t think I can take it again for a long time. If there is all of that magic treasure in the vault, I am hoping/fantasizing that Prince had some plan for it. I would love if if they throw open that vault and just let us at all of that magic. What a day that would be.

    • chelsea says:

      A lot of the previously heavily bootlegged tracks have been made officially available, since about 2000.

  3. Jessica says:

    Prince was such a control freak about his work that I can’t imagine he didn’t have a will set up to dictate what would happen.

    • Christin says:

      I certainly hope so. Given that he likely engaged so much legal work, hopefully he addressed the estate and who he wanted to have and manage it.

      Otherwise, with no spouse, deceased parents, no living children, it would seem his sister / other distant relatives would be legal heirs.

  4. Izzy says:

    He WAS protective of his intellectual property and fought hard to regain ownership of it. I cannot imagine he would have been careless enough to not have an estate plan in place. Stranger things have happened, but I would be very surprised in this case.

    • Little Darling says:

      Exactly, especially after hearing he told fans recently not to say prayers yet after he was hospitalized. If he didn’t, I would imagine after that scare he got it into place. Although, everything we know about him leads us to know pretty concretely that he has a plan.

      Just sad.

    • lucy2 says:

      I really respect him for wanting ownership and control of his music. I imagine it’s hard to do that in the industry, but I can’t imagine losing control of work so personal. I too have to think (and hope) he prepared well and that it will go to someone who will do right by his wishes.

  5. A says:

    Must. Hear. All of it.

  6. Bridget says:

    Awesome for us, but to be honest I feel like releasing stuff that he deemed to be not up to snuff would be going against his wishes.

  7. Shambles says:

    Just have to say thank you so much to all the writers at CB for the beautiful and graceful way you’ve covered Prince’s passing. It’s all about his music, his art, his legend, and the fact that the world is better for having had him in it.

    It’s refreshing when you consider the disgusting way TMZ has been covering his passing. They obviously know something or have some type of info on his cause of death, but they’re dancing around it, speculating, and dropping all these hints just for clicks. It’s abhorrent, and they are the lowest of the low.

  8. HK9 says:

    This is what I’ve been waiting for. Hopefully there won’t be any shenanigans with the estate and we can be able to purchase/hear it at some point.

  9. Naya says:

    I watched the Kevin Smith tell-all on Prince. Prince was one crazy ass mutha. Like off his rocker nutjobby. He will be sorely missed.

  10. Little Darling says:

    I just heard we could have enough music from the vault for 100 years, that’s how incredibly prolific he was.

  11. VL says:

    How does Jehovas witnesses view inheritance of estates?

    • Melanie says:

      Wills are encouraged. We’re not in the dark ages. If you want to know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, go to the website.

  12. Mia4s says:

    Selfishly I hope this is released but I do hope his wishes are followed.

    It’s been reported his sister is his next of kin and that they were close. I haven’t seen any indication she was heavily involved in his business though so I do hope he was smart with estate planning, for her sake.

  13. Colette says:

    Prince also wrote Chaka Khan’s “I feel for you”

  14. crack fox says:

    I’ve heard about this music. Allegedly, there’s a ton of super freaky, XXX rated stuff. I am pH so curious!

  15. GiGi says:

    That Kevin Smith video is gold.

    Also – they’re saying his death looks like a prescription opioid OD. I was actually hoping he’d been sick and that his death was inevitable. To know that it was possibly preventable is just even more heartbreaking.

  16. Dana says:

    I’m still so shaken by this, I’ve not stopped playing his music all night. Rest in Peace Prince Roger Nelson.

  17. Veronica says:

    I’m completely not shocked by this. He was well known for his tendency to record things on his own. I’m kind of curious to see what specific controls he put on it legally and if/when we’re going to start seeing stuff released in the next couple of years.

    (The one thing I’m really dying to see published is the Prince biopic that Kevin Smith did for him several years back. The one they put a full production crew on and Smith wanted to release, only to have Prince turn around go, “LOL no this is for me.”)