Thursday, April 18, 2024

Money Talks: Prince, Formerly Warner Music’s “Slave,” Signs Major Deal with Label


Prince once hated Warner Music so much he wrote the word SLAVE on his cheek and used the photo for publicity. He dropped his name and used a symbol for years. He was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Leaving Warner Music, he journeyed to EMI and to Arista, had a major hit — “The Most Beautiful Girl”– on an indie label, and carried on like crazy.

How times have changed: today Prince announced a new deal with Warner Music almost 20 years after he prince_symbol2left. Under the new deal he owns his master recordings. He says he’ll release new music, old music, unreleased music, everything.

Terms of the deal “were not disclosed” but facts are facts: Prince hasn’t made real money in years and years. Like 20 years. He’s done re-records of his old records to circumvent not owning his masters. No one cared. They just want to hear “1999.” He may be eccentric, but Prince has bills to pay.

Apparently Warner Music’s president, Cameron Strang, got owner Len Blavatnik to open his pocketbook. Over the years, Warner Music has lost so many catalogs and artists it’s laughable. This signals a desire maybe to get back in the game.

It’s interesting because it looked a few weeks ago like Prince was headed to Epic Records. L.A. Reid announced he was putting out a single with Prince over there. But that may have been a leverage move.

Anyone’s who been around in this business for a while must be scratching their heads. Prince and Warner Music? What’s next, Putin letting the Ukrainians live in peace?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News