Prince’s vault with 100 years worth of music has been drilled open

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As CB reported the day after Prince died, the artist had a vault of music in his home/studio Paisley Park with volumes of unreleased music locked away. Bremer Trust, Prince’s bank that has been put in charge of handling his estate, had to drill the vault open last week as Prince was the only person who knew the code to open it. To give you an idea of how much music the vault is thought to contain, it is reported that there is enough music in there to release one album a year for the next 100 years.

The holy grail of all things Prince. The Paisley Park vault containing a collection of Prince’s unreleased recordings was recently drilled open by the company given temporary custody over his estate, Minneapolis’ ABC News affiliate KSTP-TV reports.

Inside, there is enough music to release an album a year for the next century, according to the station.

“We could put out more work in a month than most people could do in a year or more,” Susan Rogers, Prince’s former recording engineer, told Good Morning America, noting that the music legend had produced volumes of work in the ‘80s.

Bremer Trust was the company that forcibly opened the vault, to which only Prince had the code.

[From Us Magazine]

As has been reported, there is no known will for Prince’s estimated $300 million estate. If the vault held no such notarized document dictating the division of his estate, it will be divided equally among Prince’s siblings and half siblings, according to Minnesota law. So going into the vault immediately was necessary as its contents are a part of the estate. I say this only because I was taken aback by how quickly they were rushing to get in there. It is fortunate that Prince’s bank is handling the estate as it appears there is already some dissension among the siblings over it.

If there is any bright side to be seen here, it is that we will have Prince music for years to come. Prince prophetically said on The View in 2012 that somebody would be releasing the music because there was too much for him to do so. Esquire suggests that many times, unreleased music like this requires major remastering or reediting, which begs the question, who will do it? I would love to see what some musicians with whom Prince worked would do with it; although that can go wrong even with the best bands ::coughFree as a Birdcough::.

David Bowie, who knew of his impending passing, scheduled to have his huge library of unheard music released for years to come. If the same holds true for Prince then at least we can take comfort in that we may have lost the artists but not their art.

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Photo credit: Fame/Flynet Photos

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34 Responses to “Prince’s vault with 100 years worth of music has been drilled open”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    I’m still so shocked that he didn’t have things in place. This hopefully is an eyeopener for many to get your Business in Order. So far his family seems to be doing the right things to get it all sorted out. It would be nice if this doesn’t get ugly.

    • denisemich says:

      Sadly, once his son died and he was divorced, I don’t think he cared.

      Probably didn’t like any of his family enough to give more or less to any of them.

      • Pinky says:

        Agreed. I don’t think he cared. He’s like, I’ll be gone, I have no control over it. You all do with it whatever you want. I’m outtie,

        And I kind of admire him for it. If he didn’t give an f about something, he left it behind, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! He’s more my idol than ever, now.

        –TheRealPinky

      • Jayna says:

        So then he could have had a will and given a huge portion to charities and made a difference with his money, while still taking care of family. I find it very odd he didn’t have a will.

      • Beatrice says:

        A will might not have mattered. I just finished reading the new book on James Brown (Kill ‘em and Leave) and was shocked that although Brown paid $20K to draft an airtight will leaving most of his fortune to educate poor kids, suits and countersuits by family members and other legal wrangling has meant that in 10 years since his death not one dime has gone to the purpose he intended. Much of the estate has been eaten up by legal fees, too. So sad!!!

      • K says:

        Beatrice, that is very sad.

      • Christin says:

        He may have thought it best to let the court decide upfront, even though the potential for family drama and fighting is going to be part of either situation. It has been less than two weeks, which makes it hard to judge how ‘nice’ family is behaving.

      • Amanda G says:

        I think it was dumb of him not to have a will, but I agree that it’s probably because he didn’t care. According to what others have said about him, he didn’t seem to live in reality anyway.

        I am curious what his religion says about wills or death? He was a Jehovah Witness right? I’m surprised he wouldn’t want some allocated to his church.

    • Sarah(too) says:

      Maybe it was his way of avoiding the conflict. Just let everyone else figure it out after you’ve gone, right? I can see him not necessarily wanting to deal with it and knowing that there was likely more than enough to go around.

      • Jayna says:

        It is beyond selfish to do that to loved ones. It becomes a nightmare and most likely litigious and can drag on for so many years and can be very stressful.

    • Bluebear says:

      Well, you’ve lost me. I’ve been reading your articles since my daughter was a baby, years literally, but today when I had to click three times on the Prince article just to get to the actual article (because the invisible add kept taking me to their page) I’m done. You sold out; you’ve gotten too many damn advertisements. It’s taken so much away from the look and the feel of your page. I just can’t hang any longer. In all my years on this planet I’ve learned one thing, if I’m thinking at undoubtably more people are. ✌🏽️

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I guess it’s fine if he knew it would be released. It just seems odd that he won’t have the final say on it. I wonder if he wanted the money to go to his siblings, or if he wanted something else and just hadn’t gotten around to making a will.

    • vauvert says:

      Hence the importance of wills, people. Whether it’s about a huge fortune or not, it’s good to have your wishes written down clearly. Obviously if there are minor children involved it’s critical, but even without – there are often pension plans, insurance money, real estate, maybe a collection – not as valuable as Prince music but still.

      PS Any lack of coherence on my behalf should be blamed on morphine, lack of sleep and food and general crankiness due to being stuck in the hospital, thereby missing both my birthday, my DH’s birthday and yesterday’s Easter. I’ll try to keep the cranky to a minimum:-)

      • Miss M says:

        I still cannot believe there is no will…
        I hope all is well with you, vauvert. Happy belated birthday!

      • vauvert says:

        Thank you Miss M:-) Unfortunately I am headed for major surgery so if I disappear off CB for a while, that’s why…

        You’d be surprised how often people don’t make wills. I have a close relative who is extremely wealthy and who still does not have a will, despite having a young child and a lot of assets, and a spouse with severe health issues. It would be a complete cluster*ck if anything happens to either of them, but one partner gets depressed just thinking about it, the other doesn’t want to rock the boat by making it an issue – hence no will. I think Prince was a bit of a combination – too much trouble to think about it and actually consider what to leave to whom, what to do with the music… plus, like many people, he didn’t see it coming.

      • Miss M says:

        Good luck on your surgery! *sending positive thoughts for a speed recovery* :)

      • Poisonous Lookalike says:

        Happy belated birthday, vauvert, and best wishes to come through your surgery safely and to heal rapidly.

  3. Miss M says:

    How many artists can say they made music for a 100 years to come?! Wow, no wonder he was so protective of his art!
    I wish he had a will in place, so his wishes would be clearly followed.

  4. Mean Hannah says:

    I have a hard time believing that he had no will. This is crazy. If he had assets and investments, which obviously he did, if he really didn’t have it, then his lawyer was terrible and was not a friend as he claims to be. Any musician worth his salt is concerned about his/her legacy and has a will. Especially if he wrote songs. Because publishing is worth real money if you wrote songs like Prince did and he, of all people, would know that it would live in perpetuity. I’m going to say it: I suspect foul play. They rushed to have his body cremated and now there’s no will or trust or codicil?

    • India Rose says:

      I live nearby. All the forensic work was completed and the body released to his family by authorities. There was no rush to cremate. That may have been part of his religious tradition to be buried quickly.

      There was a locksmith van at the house the day after he died. He was an exceedingly private person and when not on stage he was incredibly shy.

      But I’m shocked if there’s no will, because he was deeply committed to artists owning the rights to their own masters and copyright. Changing his name to a symbol was not an affectation. It was to get out of a “slave” contract with a major record label. His work in this area paved the way for other musicians to have a shot at owning more of their work.

      When Eric Clapton was asked, “What’s it like being the world’s best guitarist?” He answered, “I don’t know. Ask Prince.” The man put out 39 albums in 37 years. There’s magic in that vault. I hope we get to hear at least some of it.

      • Sue Vehlow says:

        Didn’t we hear the same thing when Michael Jackson died? There was supposed to be so many songs in the “vault” but to my knowledge, haven’t heard a one -perhaps due to litigation?

  5. GingerCrunch says:

    YaY! A reason to stay alive! 😉

  6. Jade says:

    Yes, why didn’t he have a will? For someone who was so protective of his rights, his masters, his name and his music…why?

    I wish you’re still here.

  7. Pinky says:

    He was a prodigious talent, having created and written the greatest material for innumerable bands and artists. The world has really lost someone and something special with his passing, which we’re only just now beginning to recognize fully. I’ve actually been dreaming about him, and that’s only ever happened when I’ve lost the people/pets closest to me.

    Maybe he’ll be like Obi Wan and be more powerful in death than even in life. RIP, sweet Prince.

    –TheRealPinky

    • Tulip Garden says:

      Per the Obi Wan comment, Prince seemed to think so! From what I have watched of him speak (a lot), he believed this was a journey towards his ultimate destination. He even said he didn’t celebrate his birthday, the celebration would be on the day of his death.
      My first comment about him because I have really been heartbroken about his death. Binge watching/listening to him, while bittersweet, has also been comforting.

      • Azurea says:

        He didn’t celebrate his birthday because he was a Jehovah’s Witness. They don’t believe in celebrating birthdays, even childrens’. What he did before he took on this faith, no idea.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Oh yes, I know but it does speak to the part of life that he considered the most important which seemed to be the afterlife.

  8. Clare says:

    Kinda surprised he didnt leave a chunk of his assets to the church!

  9. what's inside says:

    I really do not think he cared what would happen here on earth after he was gone – he was on to the next party, hopefully to see his son who if he had lived would be a teenager now, and to follow the Lord’s will.

    • Jayna says:

      He was obsessed with his music catalogue and owning it. I can imagine that being like that that he was very concerned about his legacy. Just to leave it all out there to the devices to others is bizarre. No artist wants all of their music in the vault released, because of a lot of it isn’t that good, thus why never released. You want someone in place to carry out your vision and releases regarding your musical legacy.

      But I read he changed lawyers like the wind and kind of was a mess regarding his affairs in many aspects. If he was addicted to drugs, his decisions could be affected by that.

  10. NeNe'sWig says:

    I’m still so crushed by his passing. I dragged my bf to go see Purple Rain on the big screen with me last night, and I’m so glad I did. Certainly not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the music and his charisma are just magical. Plus I figured this was going to probably be the last time it would ever play in movie theaters again, so now I can say I’ve seen it <3 I still can't quite accept that he's gone, and now I have something in my eye again.

  11. Christin says:

    Like many others, I’m puzzled that there appears to be no trusts, no will, etc. From a cash standpoint, he could have had beneficiaries on accounts (which bypass wills / probate). His real estate could have been set up in a way that overrides the will (such as lifetime estate, etc.).

    The musical part is truly baffling, unless he really did just look at it as art to be shared once he was gone. Or, maybe he wanted it tied up until most if not all his siblings were much older or gone and couldn’t enjoy the money away.