'The New Master' Plan Went Nowhere
Although he had emancipated himself from Warner Bros. three years earlier, Prince was still quite unhappy about the fact that he didn't own the masters to the songs he recorded for his former label. In February of 1999, he announced plans to re-record "new masters" of all of those songs, beginning with "1999." The New York Times implied that the move was simply designed to deprive Warner Bros. of royalties – something Prince strongly denied. "If this is a side-effect of his re-recording the catalog, then so be it, but by no means is this his intention," Prince's NPG Records said in a rebuttal statement. "And, in fact, he believes that the entire Prince catalog belongs in his family’s name, since he was its creator." The point became moot when Prince's update of "1999" only reached No. 150 on the pop charts; no further "new master" songs were issued. Ironically, Warner Bros. later did their own re-release of the original recording, and it reached No. 40.