Prince’s estate worth twice the original value

The late singer Prince’s estate has been valued at almost twice that of its original estimate, according to an article in the Guardian. 

The estate includes the singer’s catalogue of songs and is now valued at $156.4 million, about £114 million. The singer died in 2016 without leaving a Will, and his estate will pass to three of his siblings and the publishing company, Primary Wave, which bought the rights to his catalogue from another three heirs, two of them deceased, in August 2021. 

Comerica Bank, the administrators of Prince’s estate, agreed the new value of the estate with the US’s tax body, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the singer’s heirs. 

Vast array of unreleased projects 

Prince, who changed his name an unpronounceable symbol in 1993 while in dispute with his record company, Warner Bros, released 39 albums during his life, and left behind a vast array of unreleased projects in a vault at his home after his death. It is thought the vault contains dozens of fully produced albums and more than 50 music videos, as well as various other media. The complete number of songs written by Prince is thought to range between 500 to well over 1,000, and he sold over 150 million records world-wide, making him among the best-selling music artists of all time. 

Well-know songs include When Doves Cry, Purple Rain and 1999, as well as the songs he wrote for other people such as Nothing Compares 2 U and Manic Monday. 

The redistribution of his estate could begin next month, with the lawyer for the three heirs, L Londell McMillan saying it had been a long six years for the three, who have needed to pay substantial legal fees to have the estate settled and distributed.  

Larger tax fees 

Earlier in January, the IRS insisted that the estate was worth £163.2 million, twice the $82.3 million figure submitted by Comerica, which would have resulted in a far larger tax fee. Comerica sued the IRS in 2020, claiming that the tax agency had made errors in its valuation of Prince’s estate. The administrator argues that it would have prevailed if the case had gone to trial, but the heirs had pushed for a settlement to bring the case to a speedier resolution. 

Primary Wave and the remaining heirs will now hope to gather new and ongoing revenue from the estate. The heirs will earn income from streaming and sales royalties, as well as placements of Prince songs in film, TV and advertising. 

Song catalogues can prove lucrative, which is why recent years have seen a wave of high-value acquisitions by the major labels, including the works of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon. 

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