Universal Music Sues Prince Estate to Void Contract

"There is no dispute that these rights are confusing," said a former estate advisor.

By Hayden Wright

Lawyers for Universal Music Group say the company was misled when it struck a deal with Prince’s estate for music rights. A new suit alleges some of the music UMG paid for is under contract with Warner Music Group, a competitor—casting a shadow of doubt over the $31 million price tag.

Related: Shania Twain’s Swearing Almost Prevented Her from Working with Prince

The label claims Prince’s estate withheld critical information from the negotiating table, reports Variety.

When the deal was announced in February, UMG boasted about its new access to Prince’s Warner Brothers-era records like Purple Rain and 1999. Four and a half months later, it appears the deal was too good to be true. Though Prince reportedly regained control of some of his WB catalog, certain key pieces still fall under the old label’s control.

“Our thorough review has only confirmed that rescission is necessary because of the material misrepresentations and nondisclosures made by the Estate’s prior representatives to induce UMG to enter a deal that was immediately contested by [Warner],” read a UMG statement.

L. Londell McMillan, a former special adviser to Prince’s estate, said the agreement “could have been drafted better…There is no dispute that these rights are confusing.”

UMG is now seeking to void the contract.

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