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Prince was constantly toying with the public's perceptions of his sexuality, upbringing, and cultural identity. This shape-shifting wasn’t just happening on stage; behind the scenes, he was also adopting various pseudonyms that allowed him to explore different facets of his creative persona. Beginning with 2 of his first proteges, the Time and Vanity 6, in the early 1980s, Prince would leave his own name out of the liner notes and credit the albums to Jamie Starr or the Starr Company. The sleight-of-hand worked so well that when the Time released their first 2 albums in 1981 and 1982 — which were almost exclusively written and recorded by Prince — the general public had no idea he was involved. “Jamie Starr is an engineer,” @morris_day_and_the_time told @rollingstone in 1983. A 1984 single for Sheena Easton, “Sugar Walls,” was credited to Alexander Nevermind, while the @officialthebangles breakout “Manic Monday” was attributed to Christopher, a name that played on Prince's character in the film Under the Cherry Moon. Each name seemed to give Prince permission to explore a different side of his personality, from the grittier vibe of the Time with Jamie Starr to the country-leaning Joey Coco to the gender fluid falsetto of his alter-ego, Camille. In the 1980s, the music industry was still deeply segregated along racial lines. Even though Prince’s music transcended genre and combined everything from R&B, funk, and gospel to punk and pop, his singles were relegated to the R&B charts for much of his early career. Using different pseudonyms forced the industry to hear his work based on its merit and made it possible for his different identities to chart simultaneously. “I was just getting tired of seeing my name,” the artist told Bass Player Magazine. For Prince, music was the primary focus of his life, and everything else was secondary – including his own identity. “If you give away an idea, you still own that idea,” he continued. "In fact, giving it away strengthens it.” Hear original recordings of the songs Prince wrote as Joey Coco and more on the new collection Originals, now streaming on @tidal and will be released June 21 by @warnerrecords.
Prince’s estate wins legal battle against Eye Records in bootlegging case, awarding them $7 million.
The legacy of Prince extends to the highest peaks of creative authority in the arts and entertainment industry. Following his death, Prince’s estate aimed to prevent bootleg sales of his work. A 2018 lawsuit against Eye Records awards the estate not only $7 million but also the removal of unauthorized releases.
TMZ reports, Eye Records allegedly released 18 compilations since Prince’s death without the right to do so. These releases included performances and, unreleased tracks. The estate sought $2 million per trademark violation before the final granting of $7 million.
June 7, 2019, an official posthumous release from Prince authorized by his estate dropped exclusively on Tidal and, Jay Z hosted an exclusive listening party for the album. The project Originals released across multiple streaming platforms June 21.