More than six years after Prince’s untimely death, the estate that owns his masters is still releasing new and updated music. Case in point: Prince’s estate has teamed up with Legacy Records to release a remastered and digitally enhanced reissue of the Prince and the Revolution: Live concert film and soundtrack on June 3, a crystal-clear recording of the musician’s 1985 concert in Syracuse, N.Y.
“For the first time, this powerful performance by Prince and the Revolution has been remixed from the original 2” multitrack master reels and the film has been digitally enhanced onto Blu-ray video with selectable stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos sound,” Legacy Recordings said in a press release about the reissue. So, who has a stake in the “Purple Rain” singer’s estate and his master recordings? That’s a simple question with a long answer.
Who owns Prince’s masters?
The largest single interest holder of Prince’s estate is independent music publisher and talent management company Primary Wave, as Rolling Stone reported in July 2021. At the time, Primary Wave had just bought out 100 percent of the interest of Prince’s brother Omarr Baker, having previously bought 90 percent of sister Tyka Nelson’s interest and 100 percent of half-brother Alfred Jackson’s. That deal gave the company a stake in the royalty from Prince’s masters, the magazine added.
Primary Wave had more than $1.6 billion in cash and assets under its management at the time, according to The Wall Street Journal. Along with holding its stake of Prince’s estate, the company oversees the estates of Whitney Houston, Bob Marley, and Glenn Gould. And in 2020, it took a majority stake in the songwriting catalog of Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame.
The other stakeholders are Prince’s oldest siblings (Sharon, Norrine, and John Nelson), who chose to hold on to their stakes, with small stakes belonging to advisors Charles Spicer and L. Londell McMillan, according to the Star Tribune. “There's not much anyone can do about family members who sell out for the dollar. That's their right,” McMillan, a lawyer who represents the oldest siblings, told the newspaper at the time.
What's Prince’s net worth after his death?
Amid the ongoing probate case—launched after Prince died in April 2016 without leaving a will—the parties to the estate finally agreed that the estate is worth $156.4 million, as the Star Tribune reported in Jan. 2022.
Much of that money will go to tax collectors: according to the newspaper, just over $5 million of the estate is exempt from federal taxes and the rest will be taxed at 40 percent. And for Minnesota, Price’s home state, the first $3 million is tax-exempt and the rest will likely be taxed at 16 percent.
The Star Tribune also reported that estate administrator Comerica Bank & Trust—which previously valued Prince’s estate at $82.3 million—had sued the IRS—which previously valued the estate at $163.2 million—over alleged inaccuracies in the agency’s valuation. With the news of the settled valuation of $156.4 million, “the members of the heir group have uniformly communicated to [Comerica] their strong desire that the estate settle with the taxing authorities,” Comerica said in a court filing.