Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Prince Won't Sell New Album 20TEN on the Computer Network Formerly Known as the Internet

Well if Prince is saying so it must be true:
"The internet's completely over. I don't see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it. The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."
That's the word from Prince, who says he won't be selling his new album 20TEN anywhere on the internet. I would link to his website as is my usual practice, but he's taken that down as well.

And what new medium of music distribution will replace the internet? Prince sent out free copies of 20TEN with the UK newspaper the Daily Mirror this Saturday. Yes, he inserted a copy into the newspaper and the newspaper boys delivered it to all the UK subscribers and no doubt quite a few people who don't ordinarily read the Daily Mirror picked it up at the newsstand.

I suppose the Daily Mirror paid him a nice fee for that privilege. So this is really an example of advertiser supported music distribution. And perhaps a little bit extra to diss the internet, which is killing the newspaper industry. We'll see how many of those CDs end up on eBay (eBay search today found 51 results).

Before you rush over to eBay and buy one, keep in mind that the commercial release will probably have some bonus music not on the free Daily Mirror CD.

So what is Prince up to these days? For one thing he has found religion and clean living. And for another he has found music.

"It's what I always dreamed of when I was a young musician, playing in the basement. Music is my life. It's my trade. If I can't get it out of my head I can't function. Someone told me they saw me at my peak, but how do they know when my peak is? I think I'm improving all the time. When I listen to my old records I'm ashamed of how I played then."
I remember first hearing Little Red Corvette in the summer of 1982, when I was living in a house is Allston, across the river from Cambridge where I was working that Summer. Prince will always be a great artist even if he had stopped after 1999, the album with that song, and Purple Rain.

By the way, that whole artist formerly known as Prince and slave tattoo thing came out of a 1993 contract dispute with his music label Warner Brothers. They told him they he couldn't perform under the name Prince without paying them royalties. He told them his new performance name was an unpronouncable symbol. The media joined ranks and made fun of Prince, which was still his real name and the name he continued to use as songwriter and composer.

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