A new record label deal signed by Prince’s estate will allow the re-release of dozens of albums — starting with the LPs that came out after Prince broke with Warner Bros. in the mid-1990s.
Industry reports have hinted that the Prince estate was close to signing a deal with Sony, replacing the Universal deal that fell through last year over allegations that the estate misrepresented a prior deal with Warner Bros. The Sony deal “covers 35 of the iconic musician’s previously released albums,” reports Billboard, although Sony’s rights to Prince’s pre-1995 catalog don’t kick in until 2021.
What this means for fans is that, most immediately, they may soon have easier access to albums like The Gold Experience (1995), Emancipation (1996), Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999), The Rainbow Children (2001) and 3121 (2006), as well as Musicology (2004) and Planet Earth (2007). None of those are among the albums now available, for example, on Spotify or Apple Music.
Eventually, with the distribution rights to virtually all of Prince’s releases under one roof, Sony will be able to make sweeping licensing deals, release career-spanning compilations, and more. Sony’s Legacy division will handle the reissues.
“The Sony team’s enthusiasm and deep knowledge of Prince’s music make them the ideal partner to release these iconic bodies of work,” said estate adviser Troy Carter in a statement. “We’re looking forward to working with the heirs and Sony on giving fans what they’ve been waiting for — more great music from Prince.”