Prince may be worth much less than previously estimated, much more in death

Prince's sister says the superstar musician had no known will when he died, and filed paperwork Tuesday asking a Minneapolis court appoint a special administrator to oversee his estate.

The amount of money Prince left behind is unclear. A fortune originally estimated in the hundreds of millions could be much, much less, and future earnings off the pop star's catalogue and brand could dwarf what he died with.

Prince owned a dozen properties in and around his famous Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis: mostly rural pieces of land and some houses for family members. Public records show those properties were worth about $27 million in 2016.

Prince sold over 100 million albums on his lifetime, according to Warner Music Group. And Pollstar, a concert industry magazine, said that in the years that his tours topped the charts — 10 years over four decades performing — the tours raked in $225 million in ticket sales.

Prince's best-earning touring year, when he took in $87.4 million, was 2004, the year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and two  decades after the soundtrack to "Purple Rain" went multi-platinum.

But what remained in Prince's hands is, by any estimate, less than the sum of ticket and album sales. In every record deal, a cut goes to the label, background performers and music publishers, though Prince published and wrote his own songs.

Concert ticket revenue is split among the venue, the promoter, staff and the cost of traveling around. And Prince was known to throw expensive parties. Court battles in recent years suggest money wasn't free flowing.

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