Will We Ever Hear the Hundreds of Songs Prince Left Behind?

It’s important to understand that even unreleased songs are protected by copyright as soon as an artist writes them down.

“Once [Prince] created it,” says Mike Carrier, a law professor at Rutgers, “it was fixed. It wasn’t just in his head. He didn’t just sing it once; he recorded it.” Still, no one knows who owns those copyrights now. Given his history with, and distrust of, the music industry, Prince’s heir or heirs may well fully own the recordings. Copyright lasts the life of the artist, plus 70 years.

(Mark your calendars for 2086, when Purple Rain enters the public domain.)

But “copyright is so much more about contracts, than it is about federal policy,” Vaidhyanathan says. “A copyright holder has tremendous power over what happens, how it’s released to the world.” We can’t say anything for sure so soon after his death, when so much remains unknown, but we can speculate. So let’s speculate.

Source: WIRED

Prince, a Master of Playing Music and Distributing It 

20160422prince-mobile-slide-igd4-jumboPrince, who was found dead on Thursday at 57, understood how technology spread ideas better than almost anyone else in popular music. And so he became something of a hacker, upending the systems that predated him and fighting mightily to pioneer new ones. Sometimes he hated technology; sometimes he loved it. But more than that, at his best Prince was technology, a musician who realized that making music was not his only responsibility, that his innovation had to extend to representation, distribution, transmission and pure system invention.

Many advances in music and technology over the last three decades — particularly in the realm of distribution — were tried early, and often first, by Prince. He released a CD-ROM in 1994, Prince Interactive, which featured unreleased music and a gamelike adventure at his Paisley Park Studios. In 1997, he made the multidisc set “Crystal Ball” available for sale online and through an 800 number (though there were fulfillment issues later). In 2001, he began a monthly online subscription service, the NPG Music Club, that lasted five years.

Source: The New York Times

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