Paisley Park Vault
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The list of the tapes more or less identified from the photos is on the second tab of this spreadsheet. Please feel free to add your comments/corrections to the relevant cells (by using the Command function) and I'll update the file accordingly. Currently the spreadsheet is not downloadable (you're welcome to share it though) as my aim is to keep all updates, additions in one place. Thanks for your kind understanding – and for your help.
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I made this drawing of the main Vault so that people can grasp the amount of audio tapes that were in there. (And of course this was only the main vault, there were many mastertapes in other rooms in PP as well as tons of harddisks, potentially full of recordings!)
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I did this because I see a lot of people saying things like "there really weren't that many unreleased songs as most of what we see from the photos are familiar titles". Well, WRONG.
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What we can see clearly on the photos is just a fraction of the Vault, most of it is blurry so we can't identify the tapes. WE HAVE NOT SEEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF TAPES IN THE VAULT.
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I went through all of the published photos and wrote down every single title on the tape boxes that I could read and so far there are 522 tapes listed with some song titles (and an additional 240 or so without titles) in this spreadsheet. Note that some of these tapes weren't even in the Vault but were found elsewhere in the building.
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But to understand how much more the original Vault contained, have a look at the layout of the room. You can see each shelving unit. There are 68 units, each having 5 shelves, so that's 340 shelves in total.
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These 340 shelves have the capacity to hold 4080 reels of 2" multitrack tapes, or roughly 10,000 reels of 1/2" tapes, or maybe around 13,000 reels of 1/4" tapes.
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As the shelves contained a mixture of 2" analog multitracks, 1/2" digital multitracks, 1/2" analog mixdown and 1/4" analog mixdown tapes, and some shelves didn't have any tapes, I'm guessing that there could've been maybe 7-7500 tapes inside the Vault.
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In addition to these 7-7500 tapes, I'm guessing (based on the photos we've seen) that there could've been perhaps another 500 or so audio tapes scattered in other rooms (there were some in the video vault, some on the floor in the trophy room and some on shelves in the garage storage area). And... in addition to these 8000 audio tapes there were boxes and boxes of hard drives, with only God knows how many original recordings.
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Of course often there are several tape reels of the same song as first it had to be recorded on a multitrack, then that multitrack was mixed down to a stereo tape, and there are some safety copies as well. But often tapes contain more than one song (a 2500ft tape has a playing time of approx. 16 minutes at 30ips speed), so the bottom line is:
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what we can see and identify from the photos is just the tip of the iceberg, ONLY ABOUT 6% OF THE TAPES – and we have absolutely no idea how much more stuff the hard drives contain!
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So have a look at the Vault room layout: the green ovals show the shelves included in the photos. The smaller green ovals mean that we can only identify a small number of tapes on those shelves.
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By the way: there's a short 1993 video with a peek into the Vault then: it looks like it was already just as full of tapes as it was found 23 years later, while Prince continued to record regularly.
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https://goo.gl/iwXu8A
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And contrary to popular belief, he didn't entirely switch to harddisk-based recording. He has recorded stuff digitally onto 1/2" digital magnetic tapes in the '90s (he had a 48-track Studer D820 DASH-machine that cost a whopping $270,000 in 1990) and I'm sure he used ProTools too later on, but he never stopped using analog – and it seems like from the '00s he's returned to mainly tracking on 2" analog tape. So my numbers above could turn out to be understatements.
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