Judge Grants Nullification of Universal’s Prince Estate Contract

Prince's biggest hits are under contract with Warner Brothers.

By Hayden Wright

When Universal Music Group paid $31 million for the rights to Prince’s catalog, the company believed it was getting a large swath of his biggest hits. After the deal was done, Universal discovered that some of the material it paid to obtain rights for (Purple Rain and anything released before 1996) was still under contract at Warner Brothers. It was believed that contract expired next year: WB actually holds the rights until 2021. The multimillion dollar plan to capitalize on Prince’s portfolio was not what it seemed for UMG.

Related: Universal Music Sues Prince Estate to Void Contract

After UMG filed a suit against the Prince estate to void the contract, a judge determined that much of the agreement should be nullified. Since then, a “large portion” of the contract has been “rescinded,” as described in the court documents.

“Universal Music Group and the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson welcome the court’s approval of our amicable resolution to this matter,” Universal said following the judge’s decision. “We look forward to continuing to work closely together on Prince’s music publishing and merchandise to ensure that we deliver the very best experiences to Prince’s fans around the world.”

“There was no wrongdoing on our end. We stand by our work,” former estate advisor L. Londell McMillan told The New York Times.

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