It's long been a part of Prince lore that he had unreleased recordings tucked away in his Paisley Park compound.
It seemed to have been verified when visitors to the singer's home and studios commented here and there about witnessing "The Vault."
They described the vault just as you thought it should be: a locked safe that would take Oceans 11, 12 and 13 to break open.
Kevin Smith, who visited for a film he was working on with Prince, even incorporated it into his first "Evening With Kevin Smith" tour. And he wrote about it on Facebook on Thursday: "I know there’s a vault full of unreleased tracks we’ve still yet to hear."
In fact, upon hearing about Prince's death, many thought immediately of that room, a treasure trove of music that could finally be released a la Tupac. And then: Well, who's in charge now? And how soon can we hear it? Enter Wired.
Wired describes The Vault as having “walls ... lined with shelves … bursting with unreleased recordings.”
The magazine asked the same question on many people's minds: What's going to happen to this music? Prince had threatened to release it all at once and even burn it. He's not here to do either, so the hope embodied by The Vault is what fans hold close.
Access to unreleased Prince tracks is now more urgent, too, because there's little to no way to stream Prince's music -- although a few apps dedicated a channel to Prince and several radio stations played Prince all day Thursday. Prince didn’t like dealing with streaming services that didn’t pay the artist first, which is why Tidal is the only service that has all of his output up to now. It’s well-documented that he didn’t like the digitization of music, period.
Now, fans have to rely on tributes to witness the musician at work, such as the prime-time special tonight at 6 on TV One. Prince even had the Internet regularly scrubbed clean, even of YouTube videos. Thank Goodness the video of The Beautiful One, Michael Jackson and James Brown -- on the same stage in 1983 -- popped back up: