In a major move, Prince has regained control of his musical catalogue from Warner Bros after a bitter separation from the label back in 1996. As part of the deal, Prince will re-release his classic “Purple Rain” album in time for its 30th anniversary. The artist also announced plans for a new album, though it’s unclear if that new project is also part of the deal.
As Billboard explains, the fight over Prince’s catalogue is as important one:
As 2013 loomed, record label executives and artists managers said that they were unsure how copyright terminations and ownership reversions would play out as they expected a precedent-setting court case to decide whether the “work-for-hire” clause in standard recording contracts could successfully be challenged by artists. Works created under work-for-hire contracts are not eligible for copyright reversion. But privately some label executives have also said that in some instances the wiser course might be to negotiate the reversions and retain control of issuing artists’ catalog eligible for copyright terminations.
In cutting what appears to be a landmark deal, Prince has chosen to remain with the label that was the subject of his ire back in the 1990’s avoiding a risky and costly legal battle and still regains ownership of his catalog.
Financial terms and length of the licensing deal were not disclosed; nor does the announcement make clear on whether the artist is gaining ownership of his catalog all at once; or more likely as each album becomes eligible for copyright termination.
And, because Prince is Prince and can basically do no wrong, he also dropped a new song: