Sony, Prince Estate Establish Re-release Distribution Deal for 35 Albums
Prince’s estate has secured a distribution agreement with Sony Music Entertainment to re-release 35 album titles from The Purple One’s catalog, as well as non-studio tracks from the artist’s past. The deal, however, won’t lead to the unearthing of any unreleased music from Prince’s storied vault.
The crux of the acquired material, which will be distributed worldwide by SME’s Legacy Recordings division, draws from Prince’s catalog of music originally dropped between 1995 and 2010. The list includes The Gold Experience (1995), Emancipation (1996), Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999), The Rainbow Children (2001) and 3121 (2006), as well as Sony-originating titles Musicology (2004) and Planet Earth (2007).
Prince’s estate also granted Sony the rights to previously released singles, B-sides, remixes, non-album tracks, live recordings and music videos that Prince recorded after 1995.
Come 2021, Sony’s distribution rights will extend even further, to include U.S. dispensing of 12 non-soundtrack catalog albums from Prince’s 1978 to 1996 era. While the “non-soundtrack” deal means two of Prince’s most famous hits, Purple Rain and When Doves Cry, won’t be eligible to re-release, what is part of the deal are the albums: 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), as well as hit singles “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” “Raspberry Beret,” and more.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The soon-to-arrive list of re-releases, though, won’t borrow from Prince’s vault of completely unreleased songs located at his former home Paisley Park in Chanhassen. In 2016, Prince’s estate valued the vault at about $35 million. Universal Music Group a year ago won the rumored race to get the rights, paying $30 million, but the deal eventually fell apart.
Prince died of an overdose in 2016 and his family is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Walgreen’s pharmacy and the Illinois Hospital which treated the musician just before he passed away, for allegedly playing a part in Prince’s death.