Before his death in 2016, Prince had a reputation for being highly protective of his music. Now it seems that that protective instinct might have created one of the most valuable collections of music in the world. After dropping an unreleased original recording of his song "Nothing Compares 2 U" along with rehearsal footage last week, Prince's estate has announced that an album of recordings from the singer's personal vault will be released this September.
Additionally, TMZ reported that Paisley Park Enterprises, which handles marketing for Prince's estate, has filed paperwork to publish collector's books of the singer's handwritten lyrics and poetry. It has also been announced that a memoir that Prince submitted fifty handwritten manuscript pages for will be released by ICM later this year.
The vault reportedly contains enough music to release a hundred albums. Troy Carter, the chief custodian of the archive and head of Atom Factory, told Variety that the artist "basically saved everything."
"There are decades of music and video and artifacts, but it takes a long time to go through each one of those and research the historical context. Where is this from, who did he collaborate with, where was it recorded, what year, was it the final version?", Carter said.
Since Carter, who also serves as global head of creator services for Spotify, took over the estate, the contents of the vault have been moved to a climate-controlled facility in Iron Mountain Los Angeles. Carter also added that the late singer "pretty much left a blueprint of how things should go". While Prince's relatives were against the archive being moved, it now seems that the action might have saved the priceless artifacts.
“Certain things happen with age,” Carter told Variety. “But [archive partners] Iron Mountain is probably one of the best in the world at restoration, so they basically have any machine that was ever invented for recording, and they have proprietary ways of being able to restore tape. So we haven’t run across any real issues in terms of the condition of the material.”