Prince Estate Taps Azoff's Global Music Rights to Oversee Artist's Entire Catalog

Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Prince performs during the Purple Rain tour.

Global Music Rights has won the sweepstakes to represent the Prince catalog for performance licensing, signing a deal with Bremer Trust which has been overseeing the estate of the innovative artist. The deal is backdated to Oct. 1, 2016, for the entire Prince catalog on a worldwide basis, both for released and unreleased tracks. Prince's catalog includes such hit songs as "Purple Rain," "1999," "When Doves Cry," and "Raspberry Beret."

Prince and his team had been administering his publishing catalog since the artist left ASCAP in 2014. According to the GMR announcement, the Prince estate, represented by Bremer Trust, along with their industry advisors, Charles Koppelman and L. Londell McMillan, and attorney Jason Boyarski, concluded that GMR's philosophy of providing an elite group of writers with heightened customer service and control was most consistent with Prince's values. 

"I couldn't be happier that Prince, who, during his lifetime, I worked with at various times over the last 30 years, will have his incredible roster of works represented by GMR," said the performance rights organization's founder Irving Azoff in a statement. "Prince was an iconoclast, who never settled for second best, and now his Estate has ensured that the public performance rights are protected in a way befitting their significance."

Koppelman added, "Uniting Prince with GMR was a no-brainer. Prince has always advocated for artist rights, and GMR is on the forefront of protecting performing rights for writers and composers."

GMR CEO Randy Grimmett said in a statement, "Prince was a musical genius.  It is a privilege to represent his vast catalog which has influenced, informed and inspired fans for decades."

The deal is the second this week executed by Koppelman and McMillan -- after a branding and licensing deal with Universal Music Group's licensing wing Bravado announced Tuesday -- in advance of a court hearing Thursday where a judge will sift through proposals to determine which bank will permanently administer Prince's estate, which is estimated to be worth between $100 million and $300 million. Bremer Trust, which was appointed the estate's temporary special administrator shortly after artist's death last April, said in November that it will not be continuing in that role, although it agreed to an extended temporary appointment while a successor is chosen.