The estate of the late pop icon Prince signed a global licensing deal that grants Universal Music Group’s Bravado unit exclusive control over his image for merchandise and branding. Bravado -a merchandise company that develops and markets licensed music merch - will work with the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson, who sold more than 100 million albums and died of a drug overdose last April at age 57, to manage retail and licensing of the brand, according to a statement Tuesday.
Thanks to the deal, Universal Music has obtained two important pieces of the artist’s legacy. As Bloomberg notes, "The estate previously chose Universal Music to represent Prince’s publishing rights, and is in the process of selecting a record label to handle many of his recordings. Acquired by Universal Music in 2007, Bravado burnished its reputation for successful merchandising with a string of pop-up stores for rapper Kanye West and heart throb Justin Bieber."
“Prince had such a unique and amazing sense of fashion and style, so it’s very important for us to follow that and come up with different product lines,” said Mat Vlasic, Bravado’s chief executive officer. “We need to work with the best of the best. We’ve got some really cool ideas.”
In other Prince news, the legal battle over the latest musician's treasured music catalog is heating up. You may recall that in November, Bremer Trust - a Minnesota bank that is acting as the special administrator for Prince's estate - filed a lawsuit against Roc Nation and Aspire (a music streaming company also owned by rapper Jay Z), alleging that Tidal was only given an exclusive 90-day license for Price's newly recorded studio album, "Hit n Run," and that Tidal had committed copyright infringement by making a total of 15 Prince albums available on the streaming service.
As of this week, Roc Nation and Aspiro filed a countersuit against Prince’s estate (via Bremer Trust), alleging that they have written and oral agreements with Prince thereby enabling them to legally stream his music. The parties also question Bremer’s standing to sue, asserting that the administrators are not the “real parties in interest” with regard to the claims set forth in the original lawsuit.