Many talented musicians have made their mark in the music industry—some more famous than others. However, few have reached the caliber of the world-renown musician known as Prince. Born on June 7, 1958 as Prince Rogers Nelson, Prince began his music career at the young age of 17. Since his early start, Prince’s talents and mark on the industry became widespread over the years, making him a musical icon. Fans loved his mysterious personality and eccentric style. Fellow musicians applauded his musical talents and his efforts in gaining rights to his own recordings.
Prince offered many talents to the entertainment world. Although most widely known as a singer, he was so much more. He was a performer, delivering mind-blowing concert tours. He was an instrumental genius, playing most of the instruments in his first five albums. He was a composer, producer, dancer, and even an actor, earning an Academy Award for his role in the movie “Purple Rain.” While he exhibited many talents, perhaps his biggest and most gifted was his songwriting. Not only did he write his own songs, but he wrote songs for many other musicians such as Alicia Keys, Stevie Nicks, The Bangles, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper. He loved writing songs so much that he had a vault filled with unreleased music—enough to release an album every year for the next century.
If there were any question about Prince’s success, proof existed in his net worth of $300 million and the many accolades he received through the years. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He won a Golden Globe, seven Grammy awards, and an Academy Award. Not only did he receive many awards, but he also boasted an impressive discography of 39 studio albums, 3 live albums, 6 compilation albums, 17 video albums, 136 music videos, 13 EPs, 97 singles, and 1 remix album. At the time of his death on April 21, 2016, Prince had sold more than 100 million records, placing him among the top-selling artists in history.
Even in the event of his death, fans will still purchase his work. In fact, when a beloved musician dies, it is not unusual for his or her record sales to climb shortly after death. People rush to the store to purchase albums in remembrance and to nurse the ache a loss often brings. This is especially true for untimely and unexpected deaths such as Prince’s. While his record sales were not at the height of his career at the time of his death, his death spiked sales by a tremendous amount. In fact, the weekend after he died, album sales reached 399,000 albums, which was a 16,000% increase from the previous weekend.
Many famous musicians, such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and others, continue to bring value to their estates posthumously. Prince will be no exception. His published works and the royalties from songs he wrote for other artists will continue to provide value. However, Prince’s massive unpublished catalog sets him apart from other deceased artists. Potentially, fans around the world could hear new Prince songs for decades to come, which could make his copyright portfolio one of the most valuable in history after the death of an artist.