The Great Purple Freak-Out
It’s no secret that The Second Disc HQ holds a lot of love for Prince – remember our weeklong blitz for The Artist back around his birthday this past June? – so this bit of news is, to put it mildly, rather massive.
After the jump, learn what an Australian podcast got His Royal Badness himself to say about the potential future remastering of the Prince catalogue.
The Aussie podcast Peach & Black issued a new episode last week, in which the matter of Prince’s recent Welcome 2 America press conference was discussed. In what must have been a dream for fans everywhere, Prince reached out to the fellows behind the podcast and discussed a variety of topics.
Although there were quite a few topics discussed – the upcoming concerts in the States, a potential deluxe reissue of most recent LP 20Ten, the state of the music industry – the most tantalizing portion of the discussion was the first concrete info from The Artist himself on future reissues of his Warner Bros. catalogue. Fans had speculated in June when it was reported that Prince had a meeting at the offices of his former label, and Prince confirmed said meetings in the interview which was recounted for the podcast. (Prince has customarily not allowed journalists to record or take notes during interviews, so the discussion was reconstructed as best as possible for Peach & Black.)
While Prince had wryly commented on the diminishing ranks at WB/Rhino making progress difficult, he did drop two bombshells: one, that his first six albums – For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), 1999 (1982) and Purple Rain (1984) – have all been remastered; and two, that distribution rights to those first three albums had reverted from Warner Bros. back to Prince himself. This is obviously a monumental turn of events, the kind of which has been cited as a make-or-break era for the industry as a whole. Under current copyright law, first drafted in 1978, it is possible for sound recording rights, defined as works for hire, to revert back to the creators after 35 years.
That Prince allegedly owns some of his own masters now (rather than three years from now, 35 years after the release of For You) is certainly interesting, and one can hope his albums will come back into print in a big way – properly mastered, heavy on bonus tracks – sooner rather than later. (As bonus tracks go, Prince discussed in the interview that many of the songs he recorded were often heavily edited for their original presentations and could be reinstated to greater lengths in the future.) Prince has announced plenty of projects that, for one reason or another, never got released to the public; hopefully this isn’t one of them.
As always, any news of Prince remasters will be thoroughly and excitedly discussed at The Second Disc.