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Prince died without a will, meaning we might never get his vault of unreleased music

Reuters/Jumana El-Heloueh
What now?
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The legendary Prince, who died April 21, kept dozens of albums’ worth of unpublished music locked away in a literal vault in his Paisley Park mansion. Yet thanks to the artist’s complex rights battle with Warner Bros and some uncertainty over who exactly controls his estate, it’s not clear how many of those tracks will ever be released.

According to court documents filed by Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson today (April 26), the artist who was so meticulous about self-sufficiency in the music industry did not leave a will—suggesting that his estate might soon be the object of a none-too-pretty family ownership battle.

Prince’s physical Paisley Park property is worth over $7 million, and in addition to Nelson, he has five half-siblings that, under Minnesota law, are potential heirs. Still, for the music industry and Prince fans, it’s the future of the vault—rumored to include works superior to those Prince actually published—that’s of most concern. It will likely now take a slew of legal proceedings to find out what happens to those tracks.

A police investigation into Prince’s death is ongoing.

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