Local Current Blog

Contents of Prince’s Vault vacated from Paisley Park to Los Angeles, angering some heirs

Paisley Park (Jay Gabler/MPR)

After 30 years, Prince’s legendary library of audio and video recordings — his “Vault” of largely unreleased music — has left the building. The building in question is Paisley Park, the Chanhassen studio where Prince did much of his recording and rehearsal after it was constructed in the mid-1980s, and where he was living in the last years of his life. The music and video, collectively worth untold millions of dollars, are now archived in Los Angeles.

Comerica, the company representing the estate until probate court proceedings are complete, cites safety concerns. In a statement shared with the Associated Press, the company said that “after reviewing the storage conditions at Paisley Park and out of concern regarding the consequences of a fire or other loss at the facility, Comerica determined that it was necessary to transfer the audio and visual content to a secure location where all of the original content could be securely stored and digitized as a safeguard against the destruction or loss of any original content.”

Although Comerica said it discussed the move — which reportedly took place in early September — with Prince’s six presumptive heirs “on four separate occasions,” at least two of Prince’s siblings are upset about the move. Sharon and Norrine Nelson, Prince’s half-sisters through his father, told the AP they’re contemplating legal action to bring the Vault back to Minnesota. “We want the music back home in Paisley Park where it belongs,” said Sharon.

Comerica likely has the legal authority to make such a move, notes the AP, and other of Prince’s heirs — including his full sister Tyka Nelson and half-brother Omarr Baker — have not commented on the matter. Both Tyka Nelson and Omarr Baker have produced recording projects at Paisley Park since Prince’s death, as has Sharon Nelson.

While the vast majority of Prince’s Vault remains unreleased, some archival recordings were released this summer as part of Purple Rain deluxe edition. Other archival video and audio is occasionally seen and heard at Paisley Park events like this spring’s Celebration and the ongoing Paisley Park After Dark film screenings.

  • Neka Bianchi

    I think, if there were real security /safety concerns, it definitely makes sense to have removed the contents of the vault to a safer environment.

    • Kim Bass

      His vault is state of the art. This is not good. They should be at Paisley Park.

      • Ian starr

        Actually the vault experienced some flooding, and 80s climate control was what it was. I’m sure upgrades occurred but amongst the prince community it is known there was some damaged stuff. I agree, bake the tapes if necessary, get the full digital replica (zero processing, dont worry, they will brick the sound and ruin it later but they WILL pull the original audio for archival), then send it back to live in the vault when the project is complete.

        • Victor M.

          Let the PILLAGING begin!?!?🙄🤔

        • Kim Bass

          At the 2017 celebration PaisleyPark it was shared that the vault was flood, earthquake, fire proof and state of the art. Someone said there was water damage to some of the stuff in the vault and that Prince never fixed it.

  • Joshua

    Digitizing it makes sense. But this was Princes Home; it should be here as soon as possible thereafter. What – it’s safer in earthquake and wildfire California?

  • dan rachael

    can the ‘digitizers’ be trusted? will they leak or steal material?

  • Xolo Cihuatl

    What I understand is that P.P. had water damage in the Vault and some of the music was almost loss due to rain water coming in and Prince never fixed those leaks. Music like other objects have a shelf life. It’s best to get them all archived and digitalized and meanwhile fix P.P. up to standards and the right environment for the music.

    • Laurie Innis

      that makes sense. But people like drama more than common sense. ;)

      • Vinnie McGhee


  • Lorie Willis

    Earthquakes an wildfires are happening in California. Are they crazy!!! Thought they updated everything at Paisley, that was also the purpose of opening so soon, for the money to fix everything an keep the lights on. Sounds like BS to me

  • Athena

    Thats bull shit they did that for there on selfish reasons his music was already safe where it was

  • Frank

    This article says nothing about transferring anything to DIGITAL. It talks about the audio and video being transferred to a NEW LOCATION. People should learn to read smh.

    • Tracy

      “Comerica determined that it was necessary to transfer the audio and visual content to a secure location where all of the original content could be securely stored and digitized as a safeguard against the destruction or loss of any original content