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Prince offers his music for free and music retailers scoff

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 01 Jul 2007 10:07 User comments (25)

Prince offers his music for free and music retailers scoff In a move that has drawn criticism from music retailers around the world, the hit artist Prince has decided to launch his upcoming new CD for free, including it in the newspaper, The Mail on Sunday.
The Mail on Sunday announced that the 10-track "Planet Earth" CD will be available for free today in the paper, over three weeks earlier than its retail release date on July 24th.

"It's all about giving music for the masses and he believes in spreading the music he produces to as many people as possible,"
said Mail on Sunday managing director Stephen Miron. "This is the biggest innovation in newspaper promotions in recent times."

The paper, which sells over 2 million copies per week, said they will be ramping up production, anticipation a large sales spike for the week.

Music store executives have scoffed at the offer, with some going as far as to calling it "madness", while others called it a huge insult to the industry. In an effort to appease music stores, Prince's label cut its ties to the album in the UK.

The ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), had this to say. "It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. "It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday."


Simon Fox, the CEO of HMV, made similar comments. "I think it would be absolutely nuts. I can't believe the music industry would do it to itself. I simply can't believe it would happen; it would be absolute madness."

Source:
Guardian Business

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25 user comments

11.7.2007 10:13

What newspaper is this being packaged with?

21.7.2007 10:25
AXT
Inactive

Oh crap says the RIAA.

31.7.2007 10:32

Quote:
Oh crap says the RIAA.
Rofl

I wonder if this stunt has anything to do with Prince being a Jehovah's Witness?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2007 @ 10:33

41.7.2007 10:41

Hell yeah...go Prince! LOL!!!

Quote:
The ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), had this to say. "It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. "It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday."

Spoken like true @ss-----, notice how they didn't even mention the fact that music was made FOR the people.

51.7.2007 11:08

I was about to make a stupid comment, thank god I read the news a little bit better, but I think if the RIAA really wanted to, they can pull the cds off from being circulated... sadly it is the Record Label's decision on how the cds are distributed as you all know... This might very well be the end of his career if it ends up being a breach in his contract.



.......unless am wrong......

61.7.2007 12:44

I like Prince and now even more... fighting against the mafiaa may bring him trouble but also will bring him more fans... :)

71.7.2007 14:06

Quote:
Simon Fox, the CEO of HMV, made similar comments. "I think it would be absolutely nuts. I can't believe the music industry would do it to itself. I simply can't believe it would happen; it would be absolute madness."


Of course, the deal with the Mail on Sunday would have reaped a generous sum for the Prince camp. OK, so maybe not quite as much as record sales would have gained (A Matter of debate perhaps), but it's a pretty good gimmick all the same.

All artists have ever wanted to do is sell music. The industry has long conspired over the years to control exactly how it's done. Nowadays, with internet distribution and nifty sales gimmicks taking over, those record shop bosses (Who have spent years trying to prevent change rather than adapt to it) are losing out big style.

Regarding the comment about the RIAA, it's more than likely that the Music company behind Prince made the deal with the Mail on Sunday in the first place, which I think you'll find is a perfectly legal thing to do. EDIT: Oh yeah! The Mail on Sunday is a UK based paper, so it's under BPI jurisdiction, not RIAA.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2007 @ 14:11

81.7.2007 15:10
OzMick
Inactive

Quote:
"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday."
Uhhh... I don't think he cares. He OBVIOUSLY has other means of distributing his music on his own. I'm sure he is smart enough to be able to set up his own website if he really wanted to and go entirely indy.

He's a very smart man. He knows what he's doing, to hell with the record stores.

91.7.2007 17:42

Way to stick it to the man! Prince obviously has enough money, and just wants to release his latest splurge of creative juice free of charge.

This reminds me of years ago when records were $9.99 and Tom Petty wanted to release an album for $8.99. The studios did not like this, so he threatened to call the album "The $8.99 Album." He won this argument, and the album was released for $8.99.

Prince is just doing this one better.

101.7.2007 18:46

Quote:
"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday."
LOL

This just proves that artists want to get rid of the middle man. Established Artists like Prince George Michael that have already enough money do it this what to make money for themselves and not pay commission to the record company.

111.7.2007 19:47

In general the actual artists / performers make very little, if anything on retail sale of CDs -- the most of that money goes to the record label.

Artists will make most of their money on concerts / touring, merchandise sales, etc., etc.

So by giving away his CDs for 'free' (I can only imagine that the newspaper will compensate him on par of what he would get from the record label), he will most likely achieve his publicity stunt goal + send a message to the suits, just who really depends on whom in that business.

122.7.2007 4:36

well you are all assuming that the newspaper has paid him for doing this and there is absolutely no proof or even a comment from either party which would confirm this.
if the daily mail had paid for this, they would waste no time in screaming to their readers that they had paid out of their own pockets to give them something for free.
the logical conclusion therefore is that it is completely free and prince has made no money at all from it or anyone else concerned in the discs production.

132.7.2007 6:17

Given the current trend to move away from traditional newspapers and towards the web, this is a win-win situation for Daily News and Prince. Daily News may have paid an undisclosed sum to Prince for the album, which in turn gives Prince money in his own pocket, without the middle man. The newspaper and Prince both get a giant publicity stunt (read: advertisement) and Prince's music reaches more of his target audience, which will sample the music and if they enjoy it, may convince them to spend money to see him live on tour. It's brilliant marketing either way, and the labels are ticked because they were left out of it completely. Besides, I think Prince is smart enough to realize that people would listen to his whole album for free, rather than just buy one or two songs off of iTunes, or pay for the whole CD. This way, ALL of his CD is out there and not just one hit song so to speak. How many albums would be all buy today that have more than one song we want to listen to?

142.7.2007 7:56

Smart man. The paper will gain publicity over this, so why would they want to disclose any amount paid to Prince. And so what if the newspaper pays him. If money did exchange hands, Prince has found a way to get paid for his work by means other than the consumer. He's getting a return on his investment like any smart business person. He's just choosing to not give the retailers a cut. Artists should be able to decide who profits from their work. Unfortunately, not all artists are in the same position. Hopefully, more artists who are in this position take a similar stance.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Jul 2007 @ 11:17

152.7.2007 8:51

i will buy his CD when it comes out. just because he did this.

162.7.2007 8:51

Originally posted by pollution:
What newspaper is this being packaged with?
thw sunday paper

172.7.2007 9:14

This is not the RIAA this time. Its the stores that are not happy it. The sellers of the music. But see the thing is its HIS MUSIC he owns it atleast thats what the RIAA has been saying. So if he wants to give it away good for him.

182.7.2007 11:11
bicuspid
Inactive

Sadly, I am in a bind for time and did not get to read all the posts. Prince can easily do this and the RIAA, label, etc can do absolutely nothing about it. Prince is one of the VERY few artists who owns all rights to his own music. Many own "rights" to their music, however, they do not own the master tapes. Prince does. When I was in college for Music Business/Audio Engineering, we went over this big time in my "Music & The Marketplace" class. He records/produces his own music, keeps the masters, and then hires a distribution company to release his stuff. Even when distributed, he can do whatever he wants with it as ALL of it is his property. Glad to see someone finally use it to the advantage of the listener.

Retailers will never not carry Prince, they know he will sell like crazy regardless. If someone turned him down (Walmart, FYE, Tower, etc) he would still sell millions by way of other means. Idiotic statements from the record industry are not surprising.

192.7.2007 12:04

He's been giving away albums for a while now, actually. Usually selective in some form, while still offering the album in stores.

It looks like no one has mentioned this, but one of the biggest reasons (and maybe the only reason) he's been doing this in recent years is because it shoots his album way up on the charts. If you give away a bunch of your CDs, it counts as a unit moved, and suddenly you're on the Top 10 which is huge exposure and you gain respectibility and your career gets a boost of longevity.

Pretty crafty, I think. I don't mind the tactic because I think his recent stuff kicks ass, and it's worth getting people to notice it.

202.7.2007 14:32

I can't comment on other countries but that certainly is not the way that retail sales are calculated in the UK leading to chart positions.
If that was the position then every crappy CD that the Mail gives away every week would rocket to number 1 given that they sell 2 million copies of their paper every week.
Recent offerings have included obscure crap like Dolly Parton singing her greatest hits ( all 2 of them ) live in concert from Detroit.
Now correct me if i am wrong but I don't recall seeing Miss Parton's jugs bouncing to the top of the UK Album charts this year.

So many comments in this thread based on fantasy/pure speculation with absolutely no evidence backing it up, there's no harm in that but it's offensive to the intellect how so many blow their trumpet as if they actually knew the facts ( which they don't )

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Jul 2007 @ 14:34

212.7.2007 15:30
Yraen
Inactive

A few years back, I read that the average band makes around two to three million dollars off of a reasonably successful album...that's three million bucks that has to be split between every member of the band, a percentage of which also goes to such subsidiaries as agents and all of the other leeches that attach themselves to musicians' throats. Three million doesn't seem too shabby until you consider that, even taking everyone except the band members themselves out of the picture, that divides down to 600k each. Furthermore, that 3m is probably only %7-%10 of the CD's cover price after sales, if that. The rest of the money goes to letter associations like the RIAA, the ERA, and the HMV, not to mention chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and the like.
In the end, the simple fact is that artists really don't give a shit if their music is stolen (ie downloaded/pirated) unless their label forces them to; many probably see it as free advertisement. As mentioned earlier, their real money comes from concerts and appearances. Most bands make at least ten times as much money touring as they do off of each individual album.

222.7.2007 15:48

He may be the first to give his music out with a newspaper, but if
you all forgot already hundreds of artists have given their music
away free in varying methods over the last few years. Including NIN
who stashed flash drives with tracks from their new CD all over the
place and encouraged fans to share them on P2P networks so everyone
could have the new release before it hit stores.

236.7.2007 16:24

I might care if it was music I wanted to hear. Free is still too expensive for THAT crap.

And the idea that he's INSULTING the "industry" (which produces ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) is equally retarded. They already made more money than HE did off his older junk - he owes them NOTHING. If anything: they insulted HIM by charging such high prices for his albums all those years, while paying him pennies off each sale.

No wonder he doesn't give a shit about supporting them any more!

247.7.2007 20:21

noobs, every cd is free

2528.6.2008 8:04

Originally posted by tefarko:
I like Prince and now even more... fighting against the mafiaa may bring him trouble but also will bring him more fans... :)
What twaddle!

He is a talentless wanker who needs to resorts to stunts to keep his name in the headlines.

In one breath we have a spokesperson saying "It's all about giving music for the masses and he believes in spreading the music he produces to as many people as possible" ......

.... and in that same breath he is visiting fan sites and demanding that "anything linked to the likeness of" of the artist, including music, lyrics and images, be removed immediately.

He has never sung anything that I would download for free let alone buy.

WANKER!!

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