As a lifelong Prince fan I’m sure the casual fan, and especially the die-hards know the many frustrations that come along with Prince fandom. Surprise release dates, innovative forms of selling music or in some cases giving music away for free (Look up Planet Earth release in a Euro Newspaper), out of print or hard to find official music that disappears almost as fast as it was released. Knowing when and where concerts/after parties are occurring so you can buy the tickets before they sell out with very little notice. Adjusting to the internet period where NPG Music Club ruled supreme and Prince was in total control of how he wanted to distribute and sell his music. During this period physical copies of his music became rare. Later on in his career there was a return to collaborating with major labels and corporations, usually one off deals for distribution purposes only.
Possibly another question that I hope someday I, or someone will have the answer to is with the vast amount of not only his music, but the music of his protégé’s and related artists that there is a clear ever increasing demand for as years go on, why were there never any re-releases? He owned the publishing of a lot (If not most) of his protégé’s works so it wasn’t like he wouldn’t have financially benefitted. The many works that were officially released but out of print created a bootleg market that I can’t imagine is rivaled in vastness by any artist from any time period whether live, demos, outtakes, or fully formed songs that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.
Tackling Prince’s official discography is daunting to think about, even more daunting for mostly negative reasons because of the various legal battles while he was alive to have complete artistic control, as well as owning his masters. The legal battles have only increased and become murkier in death. With no will, or one specific entity or person left appointed specifically by Prince to oversee both his legacy and works, in short the enigma in life that he may have been to some, that mystique will probably only continue to grow and only rivaled by the uncertainties of how his legacy, works will be handled in death. Currently many different people and corporations have their hands in the financial pie that is Prince’s estate and there is seemingly rhyme or reason to why it has been split up in multiple ways whether by specific periods of time, and in some instances specific albums are not to be re-released until very specific dates that are years away. The landscape with his estate and all of those that benefit financially is and will continue to be a constantly changing one so even in death there are absolutely no certainties in how, what, or when things will be re-released as well as completely new releases culled from the vault or other sources.
I hope in future posts to discuss and dissect Prince’s vinyl catalogue as well as any new information pertaining to re-releases of Prince or Prince related artists and protégé’s, as well as releases from unreleased sources including his infamous climate controlled vault which is no longer in Minnesota, as it has been hauled in its entirety to southern California.