Every person forgets things, like the code for a website or the combination for your luggage lock. In Prince’s case, the iconic artist forgot the password for his vault.

Long regarded as one of the most prolific musicians in history, Prince’s vault of unheard music became the thing of legends. When he died, people began to speculate about what gems it could contain.

One such person was Troy Carter, a former Spotify executive who was called in by the bank overseeing Prince’s estate to help sort through the archive in an attempt to value its worth.

"The Prince vault is this legendary thing. So my first visit to Paisley, of course the first place that I wanted to go was to see the vault," Carter confessed during an interview with 60 Minutes. "It's literally a vault. It's a room full of shelves floor to ceiling with tapes."

Still, one fact surprised Cater more than the rest.

“When they told me that [Prince] hadn't been in the vault in years, I thought there was gonna be this story about how he left behind his old materials to focus on new artistic endeavors,” the music executive explained. “And they said, ‘No, he just forgot the password to the vault.’”

Yes, Prince, the man who notoriously kept control of every facet of his musical life, was unable to access his previous material because he couldn’t recall a code. Rather than hiring a locksmith and admitting his mistake, the Purple One opted to simply create a new space for his work. “He started putting stuff in his pre-vault,” Carter explained. “And then that turned into more and more rooms.”

By some estimates, there are more than 8,000 unreleased songs in the Prince vault, in varying stages of completion. Carter and the estate are working together to determine how and when each piece of material will be released. The next posthumous effort, Welcome 2 America, will arrive July 30.


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