As controversy continues to swirl regarding the licensing of Prince's recorded-music catalog, a former advisor to the late icon's estate has released a statement to Billboard denying allegations that the estate misrepresented the rights to Prince's recordings in negotiations with Universal Music Group.
In February, UMG announced it had won the global rights to license Prince's post-1996 catalog, unreleased recordings from his legendary vault and, as early as 2018, would begin to take over U.S. licensing and distribution for "certain key titles" from Prince's 1978-1995 catalog recorded while under contract to Warner Music Group, in a deal worth a reported $30 million. But in recent weeks, doubts over the deal emerged, leading UMG to send a letter to Comerica Bank, currently the administrator for the Prince estate after taking over from Bremer Trust on Feb. 1, alleging that representatives from the Prince camp misrepresented what rights from the Warner catalog would be available.
Since Prince's sudden death at the age of 57 on April 21, 2016, several deals have been signed regarding the management of his entertainment assets: UMG's recorded masters deal; Universal Music Publishing Group being named publishing administrator for the Prince catalog; and Universal's Bravado division handling branding and merchandising. Additionally, Prince's catalog became available on all streaming services for the first time on Feb. 12, after the purple one had famously withheld his music from all services but Tidal in the final years of his life.