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 a 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.