By now we have all heard the exciting news that Prince’s music catalog will be available on Spotify but there’s a bit more to it.
Universal Music Publishing Group inked a long term agreement with Prince’s estate in November, according to Billboard, which gave them the rights to a large portion of Prince’s catalog and unreleased material. The deal made UMPG, ““responsible for servicing and administering Prince’s expansive catalog of songs.” The company also expressed its intent to, “work closely with the artist’s estate to develop new creative outlets for his music.”
Prince previously had a contract with UMPG that ended in 2013. After that, Prince and his staff managed his music on their own, in tandem with Peermusic. The last two albums Prince released before his death, Hit n Run Phase One and Hit n Run Phase Two, were released through Tidal. Business Insider reports that Tidal did attempt to gain control of the late artist’s masters but was unsuccessful due in part to a dispute relating to Tidal making a great deal of Prince’s music available to be streamed. Prince was notoriously protective of his masters, often having Youtube videos that featured his music (even playing in the background) taken down.
According to OkayPlayer, the deal took effect as of 2017. UMPG will have the rights to music released under NPG Records including Emancipation, 3121 and Musicology. UMPG will own publishing and merchandising rights to Prince’s music. Longtime Prince associates Charles Koppelman and L. Londell McMillan represented Prince’s estate along with Berner Trust.
“I am thrilled the NPG catalog and Prince’s highly sought after unreleased recordings will reside with UMG, where we have found a partner who is passionate about presenting Prince’s music with a holistic vision that celebrates his iconic status across recorded music, publishing and merchandise and will continue to deliver the highest quality experiences that fans have come to expect,” McMillan said about the deal.
For their part, UMPG has promised to respect the Purple One’s extensive catalog saying, “UMG is committed to honoring Prince’s legacy and vision by creating the highest quality products and experiences.”