Protecting a Legacy or Monetising a Loss; Prince’s Vault
The artist formally known as the artist formally known as Prince. Arguably music’s most talented and eccentric individual, he is never far from news headlines these days. The iconic multi-instrumentalist, singer, actor and performer passed away last year at the age of 57. He left behind an already incredible legacy including over 35 albums, four movies and countless incredible memories. There have already been several posthumous releases, but news this week indicates more.
Prince is very well known for the amount of music and other content he created. It was even rumoured that he wrote a song every single day. Many of which are stored within his mythical vault. Since his death, the contents of that vault are set to be released, with his sister Tyka claiming that it was always his intention to do so. She reportedly told the Sun newspaper that “As soon as we can release it…we sure will”. Personally I am not sure what to think of this. As a long time Prince fanatic, the vault had this legendary status, almost because it was so shrouded in mystery and would never be released. We weren’t to know whether he was (unlikely) hiding some incredible albums in there. Or that he just wrote and produced so much and didn’t want to release it all.
I for one remember the story that American director Kevin Smith told about Prince, when he was hired to make a documentary and follow the Purple One all over Paisley Park. While it does sound fascinating, it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing Prince would have wanted released. He was very careful about what went out and what didn’t, as well as how he looked and performed. I think the music and footage in the vault was in there purely because he didn’t want to release it, and had no intention of doing so.
While I hope that I’m wrong and we get hundreds of hours of ‘new’ incredible Prince content, I have grown to be sceptical of posthumous releases over the years. What the man did during his lifetime is more than enough to ensure he will be remembered well beyond most of us. Capitalising from the vault (unless it’s all released for free) is a whole other thing.
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