The icon and Universal have been partners for several years and he renewed his contact with them in 2005.
“We are pleased to announce that Prince and Universal have reached a mutual agreement in terminating their long standing publishing deal,” said Prince’s manager, Kiran Sharma. “It is an exciting opportunity for Prince to consider fresh and new ideas for all his music.”
The agreement covered the cataloging of his future works as well as his albums Musicology, 1999, Sign O’ The Times, Diamonds and Pearls, Parade, Around the World in a Day, Emancipation, Purple Rain, and the soundtrack from Batman.
At the time of the renewal, David Renzer, who was CEO at the time, expressed excitement at the potential of a long-term collaboration. “The fact that he is re-signing to Universal Music Publishing Group speaks to the dedication and commitment we can show to a world-class high caliber artist like Prince,” said Renzer. “We are thrilled to have concluded this deal and consider it a privilege to continue our long-term relationship with him.”
Turns out the relationship wasn’t so long-term after all.
Prince has long had a rocky relationship with his music companies. Back in the 1990s, he famously changed his name to an unpronounceable love symbol and increased his output to get out of a testy contract dispute with Warner Brothers. Since the release of his first album in 1978, the 54-year-old artist has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, won seven Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and was ranked by Rolling Stone as number 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time.