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Deals ensure cash still flows to Prince estate

By STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A year after Prince died of an accidental drug overdose, his Paisley Park studio complex and home is now a museum and concert venue. Fans can now stream most of his classic albums, and a remastered "Purple Rain" album is due out in June along with two albums of unreleased music and two concert films from his vault.

Prince left no known will and had no known children when he died last April 21, and the judge overseeing Prince's estate has yet to formally declare six of his siblings as its heirs. However, those running the estate have taken steps to preserve his musical legacy and keep the cash coming in.

The music

The value of the music deals hasn't been disclosed, and key financial information in voluminous court filings is sealed.

Universal Music Group was a big winner, reaching major deals that gave it the licensing rights to Prince's vault of unreleased music and his independently recorded albums, publishing rights and merchandising rights.

Under related deals, Prince's music is now available from major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music and iHeartRadio.

But a lawsuit remains pending against Jay Z's Roc Nation and the Tidal streaming service over alleged copyright violations. Tidal claims Prince gave it the exclusive right to stream his albums, including his Warner Bros. catalog. Estate lawyers say he gave Tidal limited rights to only one album, 2015's "Hit N Run: Phase 1."

Paisley Park

Paisley Park, which is run by the company that runs Elvis Presley's Graceland, opened for public tours in October. Visitors can see the studios and soundstage where Prince worked and pay their respects at the Paisley Park-shaped urn that holds his ashes. It also hosts dance parties and movie and video showings on Friday and Saturday nights.

Close to 100,000 people from around the world have taken the tour, even though winter was expected to be the slow season, said Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Park Management. He expects several hundred thousand visitors in the first full year of operations, which he said would make it the No. 2 museum dedicated to an entertainer behind Graceland.

He said most of the money is going toward preserving the building, which he said was in "grave disrepair" when Prince died, and toward protecting its contents. He said the heating and cooling system had to be replaced, some rooms where videos were stored had recent water damage, and valuable custom-designed outfits were improperly stored on wire hangers.

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