Amid allegations of misrepresentation, an iconic repertoire hangs in the balance.
Universal Music Group is crying foul over allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation in its licensing deal for Prince's catalog, which could result in the artist's records once again being shopped to competing labels.
In February, UMG agreed to a $30 million deal with the Prince estate, in which the label would assume the rights to Prince's post-1995 catalog globally; unreleased material; and, in the United States, the licensing and distribution of "certain key titles" from his Warner Music Group catalog, recorded between 1978 and 1995, including 1999. (Four soundtrack albums, including Purple Rain, will remain with WMG in perpetuity.)
But recently, UMG sent a letter to Comerica Bank, which took over as administrator for the estate from Bremer Trust on Feb. 1, alleging that the terms of its deal were misrepresented by the Prince estate's representatives. At the heart of the dispute is the expiration date of Prince's deal with Warner. A representative from Prince's camp allegedly informed UMG that the Prince-Warner deal expired in June 2018. But most sources now believe the existing agreement doesn't run out until 2021. (A few still insist it will be sooner.)