Unreleased Prince EP to remain unreleased following court ruling
By Andy Malt | Published on Friday 21 April 2017
A US judge has blocked – for now at least – the release of a new six track EP featuring previously unreleased Prince music. The release had been planned to mark the first anniversary of the musician’s death, but attracted legal action from his estate when it was announced on Wednesday.
As previously reported, producer Ian Boxill was planning to put out the six track EP via a label services company called Rogue Music Alliance. Boxill, who seemingly worked with Prince between 2006 and 2008, reckoned that putting out the tracks – which the producer has completed since the musician’s untimely death a year ago – via an independent label services operation is what his one-time collaborator would have wanted.
However, the estate did not agree, saying that Boxhill was breaching a contract between him and Prince which stated that ownership of any recordings the two men collaborated on would stay with the musician, rather then the producer. Therefore he does not have the right to put out the music under his own steam.
A Minnesota district court judge has now sided with the estate on the matter, ruling that Boxhill must hand over the “original recordings, analogue and digital copies, and any derivative works” to estate reps. Who, presumably, will chuck it all in the vault with the rest of Prince’s unreleased work.
Although initially withdrawing the release from sale, Rogue Music Alliance is now saying that the title track from the EP, ‘Deliverance’, isn’t affected by the injunction because it was released on Wednesday, alongside the original announcement, prior to the court ruling. To that end, that track was made available on its own via a specific website set up for the EP, though that site isn’t working as we go to press. Meanwhile, the full release has definitely been removed from other download and streaming services.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, David Staley, co-founder of RMA, said: “I was pleased by the ruling last night, which in a nutshell indicated everything that has been released up to the time of the judge’s ruling, late evening 19 Apr, can be and should be enjoyed by the fans. This includes the ‘Deliverance’ single and all other released works. My team and I are excited for the ‘Deliverance’ single to be available again to Prince’s loyal fans. I, like Ian, feel ‘Deliverance’ is a very timely song and believe it will bring comfort to many in these trying times”.
The injunction itself stands until 3 May, unless the court decides to extend it.
Elsewhere in Prince records news, Neilsen has announced that the late star sold more albums than any other artist in the US in 2016. He shifted 2.23 million units – slightly more than Adele. His best seller was that 2001 classic ‘The Very Best Of Prince’.