There’s a good rea­son why Prince has gone back to Warn­ers

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

Sound the OMG klaxon right away! Prince is in the news and he’s happy as he re­turns to the la­bel he left in an almighty huff 18 years ago.

How this came about is very telling about the cur­rent state of the record busi­ness. Prince re­cently signed a new deal with Warner Mu­sic, the la­bel which he once ac­cused of not re­spect­ing his artis­tic what-have-you and which was part of the rea­son he changed his name to a squig­gle.

So what changed our favourite Minneapolis mu­si­cian’s mind? Per­haps it was the fact that the la­bel was pre­pared to give him own­er­ship of his pre­vi­ous al­bums and the sort of cre­ative con­trol over his work which he al­ways craved.

While it means more money for Prince – Bill­board says that he’d have earned $1.7 mil­lion in 2013 from his back cat­a­logue in­stead of the es­ti­mated $657,000 in roy­al­ties he would have been paid – it also sets a very in­ter­est­ing prece­dent, es­pe­cially with re­gard to ye olde Sec­tion 203.

We have writ­ten here be­fore about how this sec­tion of the US Copy­right Act 1976 al­lows mu­si­cians who sold the rights to their mu­sic to ter­mi­nate those ar­range­ments af­ter 35 years, pro­vided they give ad­vance no­tice to the la­bels. That law came into be­ing in 1978, which means a whole slate of acts are now look­ing for their al­bums back.

This, nat­u­rally, scares the be­jay­sus out of the la­bels, which have grown used to do­ing the dog with these back cat­a­logues. Hence the rea­son that Warn­ers and Prince sat down and played nice. You can bet sim­i­lar such meet­ings, com­plete with posh bis­cuits, will be had with reps of such acts as The Po­lice, The Ea­gles, Billy Joel and all the oth­ers who’ve asked for their al­bums back. An­other good pay-day for the her­itage acts.

Pho­to­graph: Jordan Strauss

Did you miss me? Prince has re­united with Warner Mu­sic, and left be­hind the squig­gle.

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