The massive global outpouring of emotion in the wake of the sudden death of pop sensation Prince has mostly subsided. What’s left is likely a prolonged dispute over his sizable estate, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars—a dilemma made ever more complicated by his lack of a will.
Rooted in this dispute is an open question: How much of what Prince earned should go to the U.S. Treasury?
By any measure, Prince was an exceptionally productive musician. He racked up seven Grammy awards and released 39 studio albums, not to mention the reported 100 albums he recorded but never released. For this work, he was paid handsomely, generating a fortune worth over $300 million at his death.
Beyond his own talent, hard work, and a bit of luck, though, what else contributed to this fortune?
If you’re a taxpayer, you did.