“The Beautiful Ones, they hurt you every time” sang Prince on the third track of his seminal soundtrack LP Purple Rain. It seems that Universal are learning that lesson the hard way this week with the news that the famously fractious pop star has exited his publishing deal with the company.
Prince manager Kiran Sharma said in a statement: "We are pleased to announce that Prince and Universal have reached a mutual agreement in terminating their long standing publishing deal”.
Sharma concluded: "It is an exciting opportunity for Prince to consider fresh and new ideas for all his music."
Universal had a long-term deal with the star that was renewed in 2005 to cover future works and back catalogue. This included multi-platinum selling albums such as 1999, Sign O’ The Times, the aforementioned Purple Rain and the Motion Picture soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Batman.
At least Prince didn’t change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and start performing with the word ‘slave’ written on his face as he did when signed to Warner Music as a recording artist in the early 1990’s.
Proving that real pop stars live perhaps necessarily in a complete bubble, Prince also declared that the Internet was “completely over” in an interview with the Daily Mirror in 2010. The pop star then continued to release albums in the UK through the booming industry of print media, with free cover-mount CDs through various publications- This was arguably a smarter move than it initially seemed, with Prince pocketing an advance arguably worth far more than expected revenue generated through Spotify plays on a platform that immediately pushed the album to three million people.
As previously reported, Universal is also facing a number of concerns from the EU regarding their proposed purchase of EMI’s recorded division.