Sunday, May 26, 2024

Prince Estate Gets Michael Jackson-Like Makeover With Return of Former Advisers


Prince’s estate is about to party like it’s 1999. Or actually, 1996.

Taking a page from the Michael Jackson Estate playbook, the Prince estate’s music and entertainment interests are going to be overseen by two of his former advisers– Charles Koppelman and Londell McMillan.

When Jackson died, he had just re-hired former attorney John Branca. Branca became co-executor of Jackson’s estate thanks to a will he’d drawn up for Jackson during one of their past associations.

McMillan was Prince’s attorney during the 90s and the early part of the 2000s. He was responsible for the 1996 album “Emancipation.” At the time, Koppelman–who has a long track record in the music biz– was chairman and CEO of EMI Records, he cut the deal to distribute “Emancipation,” which was one of Prince’s last real hits on a regular label.

Koppelman had been a manager of Michael Jackson when the King of Pop was alive, back in 2003-2005. He and partner Al Malnik left Jackson’s business when the singer let the Nation of Islam and brother Randy Jackson take over his interests during his child molestation and conspiracy trial.

When Prince died, McMillan flew directly to Minneapolis and quickly got re-involved in advising Prince’s estate, which is in the hands of Bremer Trust National Association. The probate court in Minneapolis told Bremer to find music executives who could maximize Prince’s intellectual property until they can figure out who the heirs are. As far as anyone knows, Prince left no will.

Koppelman is a savvy choice. He’s built a reputation as a savior of companies like Martha Stewart and Steve Madden when their CEOs went to jail. He’s also had his own entertainment companies and the very cool but short-lived SBK record label with current Sony ATV Music chief Martin Bandier back in the 90s. (BTW His son, Brian, is the co-creator of the great new Showtime series “Billions.”)

Maybe one of the first things Koppelman and McMillan can do is bring back the “Emancipation” album. It’s one of many albums that no longer exist in print or for sale except as imports or collectors’ items.

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.

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