When Prince Nelson Rogers died last year, it seemed as if the music was over. Then, just a week before the anniversary of the internationally renowned artist's death, an announcement was made that a new, six-song EP called "Deliverance" was to be released -- including brand-new music.
Fans were elated. Until last Wednesday, when a federal judge put the kibosh on the release.
What's at stake is presumably millions of dollars in income from the release. The man who was going to release it is a former sound engineer who claims he was working in collaboration with Prince between 2006 and 2008 and that they planned to release the music together.
According to that sound engineer, the songs "were written and recorded when Prince was an independent artist, protesting what he saw as an unjust music industry." After Prince's death, he worked for a year "completing the compositions and arrangements, finishing the production and mixing the songs."
Was 'Deliverance' meant to be a protest against injustice in the music industry?
Whether it was or not, releasing it now isn't going to correct any injustices, according to Prince's estate representative and Paisley Park Enterprises. Instead, it would interfere with the estate's legal responsibility to maximize the value of Prince's intellectual property. It would harm Paisley Park's business relationships. Furthermore, "If [the sound engineer] publishes sound recordings Prince made before he died without authorization, it deprives Prince (and now the Estate) from choosing what is released to the public and when."
The estate has demanded the engineer return any and all recordings to Paisley Park. Additionally, it accuses him of violating a confidentiality agreement that should have locked down any work he and Prince made together.
After considering several factors, including whether any harm to the estate and Paisley Park would be irreparable, the federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on the engineer's release of the EP -- until and unless he can prove his right to do so. It will expire on May 3, unless the judge extends it.