Universal Music inks exclusive publishing deal for Prince's catalog


Prince Associated Press

The Prince estate is ready to get paid.

Universal Music Publishing Group today announced Wednesday that it will be the exclusive worldwide publishing administrator for the late purple superstar’s complete music catalog.

UMPG, the publishing arm of Universal Music Group, administered Prince’s publishing from 2001 through 2014. Then, as Prince so often did, he took matters into his own hands.

The deal covers released and unreleased music, including anything that may eventually emerge from the storied Paisley Park vault.

Prince’s estate still owns his music, and licensing rights are reportedly still being negotiated with various parties, including the company Prince battled for so many years, Warner Bros.

Billboard quoted a “high-placed source” as a deal for Prince’s recorded music is “Warner's to lose.”

Warner is behind the first two posthumous Prince releases: a 40-cut best-of called Prince 4Ever due on November 22, and a deluxe Purple Rain reissue with a disc of unreleased bonus material slated for next year.

Details of the deal have not been disclosed, but music publishers often issue hefty advances in situations like this. It’s possible that UMPG will inject a shot of welcome liquidity into the Prince estate’s bank account before the publisher sets about scouring the globe for unpaid royalties.

Such an advance would be welcome. Prince’s probate case remains ongoing in Carver County, and since Prince died without a will, the estate may face a combined state and federal tax bill of as much as $150 million in 2017.