Apple Music in the Running for Prince Documentary, Unaired Concert Video

Prince albums on Apple Music in February - AP photo of Prince at the 46th Grammy Awards

Apple Music is among the streaming services in the running for exclusive rights to unaired Prince concert footage from 1983 and content for a Purple Rain documentary. The content is related to Prince’s Purple Rain movie and album, and could be a big win for the service that scores the deal.

Prince albums on Apple Music in February - AP photo of Prince at the 46th Grammy Awards
Apple bidding on unreleased Prince recordings for Purple Rain documentary on Apple Music

The concert was recorded on August 3rd, 1983, in Minneapolis to get footage for the 1984 Purple Rain movie. The footage Apple and other streaming music services are bidding on is expected to be a multi-million dollar deal, according to Billboard.

The recordings also include footage that can be used to make a documentary about the making of the movie. Odds are that’s exactly what Apple would do because it would be a perfect fit for Apple Music and a great way to attract new subscribers.

Apple Music is already in the music-related documentary game with exclusive content like Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour Live video, and Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. The latter opened this year’s Tribeca Film Festival where Apple announced it bought the exclusive rights to the film.

Adding an original a Purple Rain documentary to the lineup would help reinforce Apple Music as a serious contender in the streaming music market. That’s fits with Apple’s push to make Apple Music the go-to service for pop culture.

Earlier this year Jimmy Iovine said, “At Apple Music, what we’re trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video.”

Spotify is missing from the list of Purple Rain contenders, which seems like a surprising omission. It’s possible Spotify felt the price was too high, or chose to stay out of the bidding to avoid what could be seen as a conflict of interest because Troy Carter—who works for the streaming music service—is serving as an advisor to Prince’s estate and is involved with the negotiations.

Regardless of the reason why Spotify isn’t involved, it reflects well on Carter because he’s putting his legal obligation to Prince’s estate above business interests.

For Apple, Spotify’s absence means one fewer competitors vying for Prince’s unreleased concert recordings and a higher likelihood we’ll see Behind the Purple Rain on Apple Music. Apple can license that documentary title from me later.

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