Prince signs new deal with Warner Bros.


Prince and Warner Bros. are back in business. Today, the Purple One and his long-time label through his most commercially successful '70s, '80s, and '90s work have hatched an agreement that will bring out unreleased material from the many songs tucked in his vault, a 30th anniversary reissue of Purple Rain (here's how critics reviewed the movie upon its release), and a brand-new studio album. Also, the deal gives "the artist ownership of the master recordings of his classic, global hits."

This development follows news earlier this month that he would assign the rights to his catalog to NPG Music Publishing. So it comes as a bit of a surprise -- especially given the torrid history Prince has had with the label.

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Back in the mid-'90s, the artist began his "formerly known as phase" and began putting out albums at a rapid rate to get out of his contract with Warner Bros. reportedly because they were inhibiting his creativity. He eventually wrote "SLAVE" on his face at the 1995 Brit Awards, and also issued this statement:

The first step I have taken toward the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol. Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros...

I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name

He eventually inked deals with other majors, and put out several albums under his own imprint. But as this release points out, it seems that all that past chaos and disorder is just water under the graffiti bridge.

Here's the full release:

Prince and Warner Bros. Records today announced a new agreement that will see the release of long-awaited, previously unheard material, while giving the artist ownership of the master recordings of his classic, global hits. At the same time, the deal extends Prince's relationship with Warner Bros. Records, through an exclusive global licensing partnership that covers every album released from 1978 into the nineties. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

For Prince fans worldwide, the new partnership will open a veritable gold mine. The surprise announcement comes just in time for this summer's 30th Anniversary celebrations of the artist's breakthrough album and film, Purple Rain, which were released in 1984. For the first time, Prince will be releasing a digitally re-mastered, deluxe version of this classic album. Other planned projects will follow.

Prince said, "A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship."

"Everyone at Warner Bros Records is delighted to be working with Prince once again: he is one of the world's biggest stars and a truly unique talent" said Cameron Strang, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Records. "We are also very excited about the release of new and re-mastered music from one of his greatest masterpieces."

It's not clear if this new studio album mentioned will the 3rdEyeGirl release, Plectrum Electrum (pictured below) or a Prince record under his own name. 

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