Prince is apparently no longer bad-mouthing Warner Bros. Records, and that’s very good news for fans. The record label announced today a new licensing deal with Minneapolis’ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the timing of which points to the approaching 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain.” A first-ever remastered deluxe-edition of the 1984 masterpiece will be the first product of the new/old partnership. More unreleased music from a variety of eras is also now promised.
“For Prince fans worldwide, the new partnership will open a veritable gold mine,” Warner Bros. proclaimed in the press release.
The deal will also include the release of a new Prince album. This may or may not be the same record with new group 3rdEyeGirl that was said to be coming via independent licensing company Kobalt Music Group. It was Prince himself who referenced the new record in the press release from Warner Bros.
Prince said, "A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship."
Of course, Prince didn’t go back to the label that once "enslaved" him without getting something in return. The deal gives him back ownership of all his Warner Bros.-issued music, which extends from his 1978 debut “For You” through the ‘90s. Billboard magazine heralded the deal as “landmark” and a “new era,” alluding to uncertainty over copyright issues for recording contracts older than 35 years (like Prince’s).
Prince fans will no doubt be waiting with bated breath for details on the “Purple Rain” expanded reissue and other music to come. One legendary vault item that has always been on the radar but never seen the daylight is the actual "Purple Rain" live recording at First Avenue in 1983, which was used/molded into the “studio” version of the song “Purple Rain” and several other tracks on that album. Lord knows – or maybe just Prince knows – what other music there is to be unveiled.