HITS Daily Double

An EP containing six previously unreleased Prince tracks, Deliverance, is dropping on 4/21 unless a lawsuit filed by Paisley Park and Prince's estate blocks the release on the anniversary of his death.

The EP is not coming from UMG or WMG. Instead, the set will be released independently via RMA (Rogue Music Alliance)—taking most in the biz by surprise.

Paisley Park and Prince's estate have filed a federal lawsuit against sound engineer and mixer George Ian Boxill to prevent the release of five unpublished Prince tracks recorded in 2006, Minneapolis TV station KSTP has reported.

And the estate has released the following statement: "The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is aware that Mr. George Ian Boxill, in conjunction with Rogue Music Alliance, has issued a press release announcing an intent to distribute previously unreleased Prince master recordings and musical compositions. The Estate has not authorized any such release and is not affiliated with either Mr. Boxill or Rogue Music Alliance. During his unparalleled career, Prince worked with many sound engineers, including Mr. Boxill. Like the other engineers that had the opportunity to work with Prince, Mr. Boxill signed an agreement, under which he agreed (1) all recordings that he worked on with Prince would remain Prince’s sole and exclusive property; (2) he would not use any recordings or property in any way whatsoever; and (3) he would return any such recordings or property to Prince immediately upon request. Mr. Boxill did not comply with his agreement. Instead, Mr. Boxill maintained copies of certain tracks, waited until after Prince’s tragic death, and is now attempting to release tracks without the authorization of the Estate and in violation of the agreement and applicable law. The Estate is taking immediate legal actions to prevent Mr. Boxill’s continuing violations of his agreement and the rights of the Estate and its partners in Prince’s recordings. Any dissemination of the recordings and underlying music compositions, or fixation of the same in any audiovisual work or otherwise, is unauthorized and in violation of the Estate’s rights to the master recordings and musical compositions."

Meanwhile, the EP has been pulled off iTunes, where it was in preorder, though it remains visible, for now, on Amazon. No word yet if a physical will become available at Target, Walmart and other brick and mortars as announced on 6/2.

On the EP—co-written and co-produced by erstwhile Prince collaborator Boxill (2Pac, Gladys Knight, Janet Jackson, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony)—listeners will find “Deliverance,” “Man Opera,” which includes a four-movement medley (“I Am,” “Touch Me,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “No One Else”) and an extended version of “I Am.”

"I believe ‘Deliverance’ is a timely release with everything going on in the world today, and in light of the one-year anniversary of his passing," shared Boxill. "I hope when people hear Prince singing these songs it will bring comfort to many. Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that's what Prince would have wanted."

According to the statement released upon the EP's announcement, RMA—founded by production/marketing duo Gabriel Wilson and David Staley—strives to "provide label-like services in a model which doesn't acquire, lock up, and own the work of artists, forever keeping them from owning the rights to their creative property, but rather seeks to create literal partnerships with artists in the joint venture of their work."

As mentioned in the Estate's aforementioned response, the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, states that Boxill signed a confidentiality agreement stating that all recordings he worked on with the pop star "would remain Prince's sole and exclusive property"; would be returned upon request; and that Boxill has no right to give interviews or write books, articles, etc.

The estate and Paisley Park claim the recordings have a value greater than $75,000 and the release of the Deliverance EP would hurt its interests "permanently and irreparably."

On a related note, rumors are swirling around UMG and the fate of its $30m deal for the rights to the artist’s unreleased recordings. Read more on that here.