Prince’s Estate and The Vault

With the passing of the musical colossus Prince, questions remain about his legacy.  What should happen with his vault?  After discussing with some friends, I’ve come to some conclusions…  I’d welcome your thoughts in the comments below.


His estate should manage his legacy with care and ensure his catalogue continues to generate revenue.

Far from being a cash grab, a revenue stream on-going will ensure Prince’s music is protected from copy-right infringement and mis-use, for example in advertising.  Prince’s back-catalogue should ensure his properties are preserved and his estate is still able to contribute to the local Minneapolis community.

There should be plenty of money going to ensure all relatives are well taken care of, if this is managed well.


His estate should preserve his music and copyright the way Prince himself did.

Prince was a strong advocate for artists controlling their own music.  His music was not freely available on the internet via YouTube etc because Prince enforced copyright of his music.  Continuing this practice should continue to protect his legacy and also support the on-going battle for music having value.


His estate should employ an archivist and librarian and custodians of his legacy…

Prince in 1998

Prince in 1998

These are like my children … they are a representation of me and they will all that will be left upon my departing of this experience.” (Prince 7:51 sec into this interview from 1998).

This is probably a three person job but Prince’s unreleased music, i.e.: his famous vault, should have a full-time archivist and librarian.  That is of course, if such a person isn’t already on the payroll of Paisley Park.  The other thing needed, is care and management of the release of any of this unreleased music, with a critical ear to ensure only quality recordings Prince would want to see released, actually are.

A friend of mine, Paul suggested that there are probably 50 (or 100) “okay quality” albums in the vault but it would be far better to release 20 absolutely classic, “phenomenal quality” albums.  I tend to agree.  There will be more Prince releases but the songs should be selected carefully and alms released with a clear marketing strategy, clear plan and long-term view in mind – think of how Marvel Pictures is planning it’s movie releases. . .  that’s the sort of strategy I’m talking about.

So who should take on responsibility for this?  Well, let’s look at the criteria: a) people who loved Prince: knew him and his music intimately – these would be co-workers, lovers, and partners in music, b) people who could listen with a critical ear and know when he had already used an idea, or when something wasn’t his best work – these people would have performed this role in the past and can again, c) people familiar with the business of releasing records.

Sheila E would be a good start, but there are others who could also contribute, such as Terry Lewis, or Jimmy Jam.  Then again, who would want that job?


His estate should open Paisley Park to the public

Hire David Walsh.

Nothing would please Prince fans more than being able to get closer to the man.  Similar to the way Elvis’s home Graceland is open, Prince and a Prince experience would be something that could present a pilgrimage and opportunity to play to true dedicated fans, some of his un-released clips and music to paying visitors.  David Walsh is the singular force behind the innovative Museum of Old and New Art and in my view, he is the man for the job of constructing from Paisley Park the kind of immersive and compelling experience that would do Prince justice.

Any visitor to MONA would agree.

There is enough material to ensure a museum type experience is able to be designed and kept dynamic.  David Walsh is a force who I think could balance a community spirit with an innovative approach.  He also wouldn’t be doing it for the money, as he’s wealthy enough.


At the end of the day, full respect for the Artist known as Prince and his different persona’s should be afforded at every-turn.

Let me know your thoughts…

One Comment

  1. Great points… I agree!


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