Comerica Bank, which was appointed earlier this year to administer Prince’s estate, has selected Spotify’s Troy Carter as its entertainment adviser. His role is generally analogous to the one performed over the past several months by Charles Koppelman and L. Londell McMillan as “special music industry advisors” for Comerica’s predecessor, Bremer Bank.
“It’s an honor to serve as entertainment advisor to Prince’s estate,” Carter said in a statement. “His music, message and independent thought has been a major influence throughout my career. I’m humbled to work with his family and Comerica Bank to advance his musical legacy into the future.” He declined Variety’s request for further comment.
Carter is a veteran manager who began his career as a teen in Philadelphia working with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and then worked as an intern for Diddy’s Bad Boy Records. He made his mark as Lady Gaga’s manager during the first several years of her career. After parting ways with her in 2013, he and his Atom Factory company worked with John Legend, Eve and Meghan Trainor; he folded the company in 2016 to take the job at Spotify’s global head of creative services, a role he will continue.
While in their role as advisors, Koppelman and McMillan executed several major deals for the estate in advance of the Jan. 21 deadline for the first installment of a whopping tax bill estimated at $100 million: Recorded-music deals with Warner Music and Universal Music Group — including previously unreleased material from the artist’s legendary vault — and deals for publishing with Universal, performing rights with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights, and merchandising with Universal’s Bravado. Those deals also cleared the way for much of Prince’s music to be made widely available on major streaming services; from July 2015 until February of this year, Prince’s music was limited to the Tidal streaming service, via a deal made by the artist that is currently being contested by the estate.
The deals helped to clear up at least some of the considerable ongoing confusion around Prince’s estate. The artist died on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57, apparently without leaving behind a will.
Despite those results, Koppelman and McMillan’s role essentially ended when Bremer elected to step down, and the latter’s involvement in a contentious ongoing legal situation for control of the estate between Prince’s six likely heirs — of whom McMillan represents four, while CNN commentator Van Jones represents the other two — may have influenced Comerica’s decision. Both McMillan and Jones were Prince’s attorneys at different stages of his career, McMillan for around a decade between 1996 and 2006 and Jones more recently.
While Koppelman and McMillan’s deals settled matters for the estate’s main music assets, in a recent interview Koppelman identified films, documentaries, Broadway shows and Cirque de Soleil as potential areas of opportunity going forward.
The recorded-music deals, which are by far of most interest to fans, have recently begun to bear fruit: In November a greatest-hits collection called Prince 4Ever, containing one previously unreleased track, was issued, and on June 9th a long-promised deluxe edition of Purple Rain, including an entire disc of previously unreleased recordings along with videos of two complete concerts. The release date of that collection is significant in that it’s intentionally near June 7, which would have been Prince’s 59th birthday.