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Prince Reportedly Left Behind Over 2,000 Unreleased Songs

Forbes logo Forbes 30/04/2016 Hugh McIntyre, Contributor

  © (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)   While Prince may be gone, that doesn’t mean the new music has to stop coming. According to Hunting For Prince’s Vault, a documentary created by the BBC that sought to unearth just how much music the star had sitting around that even his biggest fans had never had a chance to enjoy, there are thousands of songs that the public hasn’t heard yet.

Some of the people that worked with the rock star for years estimate that there could be around 2,000 unreleased songs, and the final number might be even higher than that. All of this music is sitting in a vault at Prince’s Paisley Park estate in Michigan, and no, that’s not a fun nickname for a studio, either—there are supposedly thousands of recordings in what looks like a bank vault.

For the documentary, journalist and filmmaker Mobeen Azhar spoke to people connected to the legendary performer, including fellow musicians, engineers, and even those that worked on his management team and a woman who helped him organize all of this material, and they all back up the rumors that there are literally thousands of recordings that Prince never allowed out of the vault for one reason or another. In addition to studio recordings, the vault is also said to contain several music videos (some for songs that were also never released) and two full-length films.

While he was primarily known as a musician, Prince also made a name for himself as an actor in films like Purple Rain. It’s tough to believe that there are movies featuring the Purple One that he never shared, but if anybody would do such a thing, it’s Prince.

The rock star’s former tour manager also said that Prince recorded most of his concerts, so there are hundreds of live recordings as well. There might be a lot of music that could be released, but nobody knows if or when any of it will see the light of day. Universal Music owns the rights to much of the unreleased music, and it can’t be released without the company’s consent and that of whoever takes over his estate, and right now, it’s not clear who is in charge.

Prince didn’t leave a will, and members of his family might be gearing up for what could be a contentious legal battle over his valuable estate. Until there is someone that can sign off on all decisions relating to what happens to his brand now that he’s gone, there might not be new music for some time.

There has been one line that has made its way into several articles over the past few days that has given Prince fans in mourning some small bit of comfort: there are enough songs available in his vault to “put out an album a year for the next century.

Whether this is true, or if the musician is able to keep up his release schedule even after passing is yet to be seen, but even the prospect of that much art waiting to be enjoyed is certainly exciting.

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