Prince live on SNL

The six-track EP Deliverance, an album of previously unreleased tracks by Prince, recently made its way to online music vendors, including iTunes where its pre-release sales soared to the number one slot. The posthumous album was supposed to become available on Friday, April 21, to mark the one-year anniversary of the music legend's passing. However, Deliverance quickly disappeared from online storefronts. Only the title track remained available for purchase on the website of the independent record label Rogue Music Alliance. The plan to release the EP changed when Prince's estate filed a federal lawsuit against Ian Boxill, the co-producer of the EP. Now it looks like Prince fans may have to wait a while longer to enjoy the Deliverance album, as a judge agreed with Prince's estate and temporarily enjoined the release of all the tracks but the title track.

Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the United States District Court put the temporary restraint on Ian Boxill, as Variety tells it. Prince's estate issued a statement on the matter to underscore that Prince worked with many producers, including Boxill, and all of them signed legal agreements to allow collaborations with Prince to remain Prince's exclusive property. The legal agreements reportedly stipulated producers would not use the recordings in any way, and they would return the works to Prince upon request. Then Prince's estate asserted that Boxill had seemingly kept copies of Prince's works and waited to release them without authorization after Prince's death.

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So, Judge Wright supported Prince's estate by reinforcing that no one shall "publish or otherwise disseminate any unreleased recordings that comprise the work of Prince Rogers Nelson that are alleged to be within the scope of the Confidentiality Agreement between Boxill and Paisley Park Enterprises." For this reason, the several music vendors promoting Deliverance, such as iTunes and Soundcloud, had to remove the tracks. However, Boxill was not ready to give up without a fight. According to him, the Purple Rain singer would have wanted to release the music with as little label interference as possible. Here is what Boxill had to say about the matter:

Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that's what Prince would have wanted.

Unfortunately for Ian Boxill, releasing the album through Rogue Music Alliance appeared to be an act of noncompliance with the $30 million licensing deal between Prince's estate and Universal Music Group. Boxill's bold declaration of what Prince would have wanted did not seem to help his case either, even if Boxill was right. After all, Prince did find unique ways to release albums like 20Ten, which was a free covermount with the Daily Mail.

Now Prince fans are in limbo. Some people have heard the tracks on the album and given them positive reviews. At the same time, the tracks received some criticism for being noticeably unfinished, something Prince, who was a notorious perfectionist, probably would not have allowed. Many questions remain in this case, but one thing certain is that many people still feel Prince's absence in music a year after his tragic passing. We hope Prince's estate will find a way to share unreleased tracks soon.

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