While rumours swirl that Prince's music is soon coming back to streaming services, we've got some more solid news to report regarding the late Purple One. Today (February 9) the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson and NPG Records Inc. announced that Universal Music Group has gained the rights to all Prince's NPG recordings, which include 25 albums and his "highly anticipated trove of unreleased works."
UPDATE (2/9, 6:10 p.m. EST): It's also now been confirmed that Prince's back catalogue will indeed come back to streaming services on Sunday (February 12), NPR reports.
The multi-year agreement means that all Prince's recordings post-1996 done for his own NPG Records imprint will go to UMG, including albums such as 1996's triple-disc Emancipation, 2004's Musicology and 2006's 3121.
As for Prince's unreleased music, a press release states, "The agreement also provides for UMG and the estate to collaborate with regard to Prince's vault of prized unreleased works from throughout his career, including outtakes, demos and live recordings."
It also adds that starting next year UMG will gain the U.S. rights to "certain renowned Prince albums" released from 1979 to 1995, though it does not specify which albums those might be. These so far have been in the hands of his longtime label Warner Bros., which has up to this point controlled much of Prince's most famous work.
In a statement, L. Londell McMillan of Prince's estate had this to say about the deal with UMG:
I am thrilled the NPG catalog and Prince's highly sought after unreleased recordings will reside with UMG, where we have found a partner who is passionate about presenting Prince's music with a holistic vision that celebrates his iconic status across recorded music, publishing and merchandise and will continue to deliver the highest quality experiences that fans have come to expect. I'm looking forward to seeing Lucian and Michele achieve great things for Prince's fans, his estate and heirs.