Prince’s Vault Drilled Open: What We Know So Far

By Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.
May 1, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

Hundreds of songs, music videos, and at least one documentary may finally see the light of day as the vault in Prince’s Paisley Park estate has been drilled open, according to KSTP-TV.

For Prince’s fans, the vault, no doubt, contained untold treasures that until now have only been glimpsed here and there as snippets, bootlegs, and eyewitness accounts.

A Minnesota judge-appointed trustee to Prince’s assets, Bremer Trust, had to force its way into the vault, as only Prince knew the combination, KSTP-TV reported.

Here’s what we know about the contents of the vault:

Hundreds of Songs

There are at least 392 unreleased songs that Prince wrote or co-wrote, according to, an “unauthorized, unofficial, independent non-profit website,” as it describes itself.

The website lists varying degrees of detail for each song, including the year of release, ranging from 1973 to 2015. Some of the songs may have been performed live, so there may exist bootleg recordings. Others are a complete enigma—recorded and then locked away in the vault.

The last unreleased song was titled “Soul Patch” and was recorded in 2015, the website states. 

“A brief snippet from the track was played during a video to relaunch Prince’s Instagram account (nicknamed “Princestagram”), with the title confirmed soon after on Prince’s Twitter account as a new song,” it reads.

Dozens of Music Videos

There have been 50 or more unreleased music videos in the vault, according to “An Evening with Kevin Smith,” a 2002 DVD featuring filmmaker and comedian Kevin Smith talking, among other things, about his experience filming a documentary about Prince.

The documentary was shot during listening sessions for Prince’s 2001 album “The Rainbow Children.”

According to Prince’s producer, whom Smith only identified as Stephanie, there were “50 fully-produced music videos with costumes and sets,” she produced that were never released and were locked in the vault.

“That’s just the way Prince is,” she told Smith.

Smith’s documentary was never released either.

‘Extraordinarily Prolific’

Author and journalist Toure’ cited estimates from bandmates that Prince recorded a song a day on average during an “extraordinarily prolific” stretch in the 1980s. The finished “Purple Rain” had nine tracks, but there were reports that Prince and the Revolution recorded as many as 200 songs during that album’s sessions, he said.

Though the Prince vault has taken on a status of mythical proportions, it’s an actual secured location on the grounds of Paisley Park. The compound’s lead architect, Bret Thoeny of California’s BOTO Design, said the musician asked for a walk-in repository similar to a bank vault.

“He wanted a place to keep his master recordings, but at the time it was very important to keep this a secret,” Thoeny told CNN.

Prince, 57, died April 21 at Paisley Park. The cause of his death hasn’t been released. An autopsy was conducted April 22, but results aren’t expected to be released for weeks.

His sister, Tyka Nelson, said the singer had no will or trust, according to ABC News. If that is the case, Prince’s estate would be divided between Nelson and his five half-siblings.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.