Universal Music strikes deal to release Prince songs

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The world’s biggest music label Universal has struck a deal to release much of the late musician Prince’s private archive.

Universal said the deal gave it exclusive licensing rights to Prince’s “highly anticipated trove of unreleased works”.

It has also acquired the rights to 25 albums that Prince released through NPG Records, the label that he founded.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

However, last October, reports emerged that the unreleased music was up for sale for $35m (£29m).

In a statement Universal Music Group said it had reached a multi-year agreement with the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson and NPG Records.

Under the terms of the deal it will be collaborating with the estate “with regard to Prince’s vault of prized unreleased works from throughout his career, including outtakes, demos and live recordings”.

Prince, who died in April 2016, was renowned for the many songs he recorded and then kept in the basement at his Paisley Park home in Minneapolis.

He was the only person with the code to open the safe.

From next year the new deal also gives Universal US rights to certain Prince albums released between 1979 and 1995.

Universal’s executive vice president, Michele Anthony, said it was an honour “professionally and personally to be entrusted with these cherished recordings, including his storied ‘vault’ of unreleased music, and to partner with his estate and heirs to preserve and expand Prince’s legacy”.

Over the course of his career Prince sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. His number one hits included Purple Rain, Let’s go Crazy and Kiss.

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