In what's certainly one of the year's biggest surprises, Sony Music's Legacy Recordings has just announced a comprehensive new deal with the Prince estate that will see Legacy assuming the reins for a considerable portion of Prince's remarkable discography.
Sony will hold the worldwide licensing rights to the late superstar's core catalogue recorded from 1995 onward, covering some 19 major albums recorded by the Purple One during this time, as well as relevant singles, B-sides, live material, videos, and more. Every Prince album from 1995 to 2010 will shortly be available on all digital music providers beyond their current home of TIDAL. The additional albums from this period (2014's Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum and 2015's HITnRUN phase one and HITnRUN phase two) will become available across all platforms at a later date. Additionally, in 2021, Sony will expand its U.S. offering to include 12 non-soundtrack Prince albums originally recorded for Warner Bros. Records between 1978 and 1994.
This deal offers significant opportunities for Legacy - and therefore for fans of The Artist. The post-1995 period, in particular, is ripe for rediscovery. It represents Prince winning the fight for independence from his Warner Bros. contract, releasing a plethora of unique and challenging music and exploring alternative avenues of distribution, from Internet sales to ticket bundles to newspaper covermounts. This period also features his incredible mid-'00s comeback as an elder statesman, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and continued presence on the Billboard 200 (with the 2006 release of 3121 becoming his first to top the chart in its first week).
This, of course, isn't the first Prince news of the year. In September, the Minneapolis icon's estate and Warner Bros. Records will issue Piano & a Microphone 1983; the estate is also at work on another album of outtakes from his storied vault, to be offered as a partial exclusive with TIDAL.
As always, we'll offer more information as it becomes available. Which Prince albums from this period are you excited to discover (or rediscover)? Let us know in the comments.