Prince's vault of unreleased music in the basement of his Paisley Park home in Minnesota is the stuff of legends. The vault, which is climate controlled and is accessible by elevator, reportedly has thousands of hours of unreleased material recorded over the course of four decades, which were hidden behind a steel door. The door had a time lock and spinning handle, with a code that Prince only had the access code to (the door actually had to be drilled in order to open it after Prince's death). Because Prince didn't leave a will, who actually has ownership over the recordings is in question; but that isn't deterring his estate advisers from trying to sell them for a lot of money.
According to sources, Prince's estate advisers Charles Koppelman (an executive who signed Prince to a short-term deal at EMI back in 1996) and L. Londell McMillan (Prince's longtime attorney and manager) are looking to sell the vault of unreleased music for up to $35 million. All three major labels; Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment, are reportedly in talks for rights to the music in the vault.
It isn't clear yet what exactly is in the vault, because the estate continues to look through Prince's assets and determining who will control his estate. According to sources, the music hasn't been catalogued yet. In addition, it isn't clear who owns the unreleased material in the vault. Prince was signed to Warner Bros. from 1977 until the mid 90s. After his deal with Warner Bros concluded, he signed short term and/or one-off deals with every major label (Universal's Republic, Sony's Columbia, Epic and Arista and EMI), in addition to independent record labels and streaming services (such as Tidal) over the course of the years. As a result, who has the rights to what music is up in the air.
Prince signed another deal with Warner Bros in 2014, with wording in the press release suggesting that he would issue upgraded versions of his albums recorded during his previous Warner Bros deal. In addition, the wording also suggested that he would look in his vault for previously unreleased material, which included a deluxe edition Purple Rain album.
When asked about the album, Warner Bros. CEO and chairman Cameron Strang said the following, "I definitely discussed it with Prince. At times he toyed with doing something with it and maybe worked on it, but he considered Purple Rain a masterpiece, and I think he liked it the way it was." Though there aren't any details on how the deluxe edition will differ from the original, the deluxe version may have a release date as early as the beginning of next year.
As far as who the heirs to Prince's estate are, that case is still ongoing. Prince's sister Tyka and five have-siblings are likely to be named heirs. But a judge is still deciding if three other people who claim to be Prince's family members should be included as well.