Universal Music Group has welcomed a new court ruling by a Minnesota judge to rescind much of its $31 million deal with Prince’s Estate.
Universal and the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson issued the following joint statement on the matter: “Universal Music Group and the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson welcome the court's approval of our amicable resolution to this matter. 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.”
The ruling comes after Universal’s discovery that Warner Bros owns the distribution rights to every Prince song from 1979-1995. Warner Bros owns these rights until 2021, not 2018 as Universal originally believed.
In May of 2017, Universal accused the estate’s former entertainment advisor, L. Londell McMillan, of misrepresenting the assets that the estate owned.
However, in a recent interview, McMillan claimed that there was nothing misleading about their negotiations. He was quoted saying, “There was no wrongdoing on our end. We stand by our work.” (via the New York Times).
Comerica, the bank that administered the deal, recently admitted that McMillan and Bremer Trust were not clear in the negotiations and feels that the estate sold rights that were already in possession of Warner Brothers.
This decision, however, does not affect other deals that were made by McMillian and the estate with Universal. These deals include their music publishing and merchandise.
By William Nicolaides