Universal Music Group has asked a court to cancel its $31 million deal with the Prince estate after reportedly learning that the estate had misrepresented the licensing rights that it sold to UMG, according to a Billboard report.
A letter sent to the Carver County District Court in Minnesota on behalf of the estate’s administrator reveals that Universal has accused the estate’s former entertainment advisor, L. Londell McMillan, of fraudulently representing the terms of the initial deal. UMG reportedly wants the court to cancel the deal and recover the money.
Back in February a deal was struck between Universal and the estate in which Universal secured the rights to distribute music that Prince recorded after his Warner Bros. deal expired in 1996, as well as Prince’s classic Warners albums from 1979 to 1995, and some unreleased material.
According to Billboard, UMG began to suspect that Prince’s estate had “misrepresented the licensing rights it sold to the record company.” The entertainment juggernaut wanted to begin re-releasing Prince’s pre-1996 catalog in 2018, only to learn that Warner’s deal with Prince didn’t expire until 2021.
Despite McMillan’s removal from his official position within the estate, he is still serving as a “business advisor” to three of Prince’s half-siblings, each of whom has some potential to be named an heir to the estate. It was their seeking a non-disclosure agreement in order to share confidential details with McMillan that prompted the letter this week.
With representatives from both parties refusing to comment, it remains to be seen exactly where things stand, but the initial report cites sources who say that UMG’s rescission of the deal will be brought to the courtroom later this month, so perhaps that will produce some more concrete results and determine whether they will be successful in their endeavor against the estate.
As the mess of legal problems surround the Prince estate grows ever more tangled, remember his real legacy with this fiery 1982 show at the Capitol Theatre available via the Paste Cloud.