Acquisition of Prince’s Disputed Estate is Key to Unlocking His Diverse IP Holdings

Half of Prince’s sizeable estate was recently acquired from his heirs by the music and IP rights company, Primary Wave.

That has not stopped the taxable value of the artists diverse IP and real estate holdings from continuing to be disputed by Comerica Bank and Trust and the IRS.

The IRS determined that Prince’s estate is worth $163.2 million, well above the $82.3 million valuation submitted by Comerica Bank & Trust, the estate’s administrator. The big gap primarily involves Prince’s music publishing and recording interests.

The Internal Revenue Service claims the executors of Prince’s estate have lowballed its value by 50%, or about $80 million, triggering a dispute that could prolong the late musician’s already expensive probate proceedings.

No Consequence

The bickering was of little apparent consequence to investor Primary Wave, who was able to close the deal just prior to last week’s release of ‘Welcome 2 American,’ an album the artist recorded in 2010. Advance sales of ‘Welcome 2 America’ were number two on Amazon 14 weeks before is actual release.

The full article on the investor acquisition and Prince’s eclectic portfolio of IP rights, which include unreleased songs and recordings, as well as image rights, can be found in the Intangible Investor in this week’s IPWatchdog.  

A creative and successful writer, producer and performer, Prince was also a savvy IP strategist, who sought to control his work, name and image. He was a fierce defender of intellectual property rights, and was involved in a series of legal actions against businesses and individuals.

Love Symbol

In 1993,  Prince tried to break his recording contract by changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol that would later be copyrighted as “Love Symbol #2” and used as a trademark on clothing, entertainment services, posters, and sound recordings.

Prince’s use of the symbol resulted in him being known as “the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”

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