2007/06/29

"The Artist Formerly Found In Music Stores"

The music industry is apoplectic. Prince has negotiated a deal to give away pre-release copies of his next CD, Planet Earth, for free. In fact, he's going to distribute them through the a UK newspaper, the Mail on Sunday, a plan of which one music retail exec observed:
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.
Now an artist like Prince, who owns the rights to everything he produces these days, certainly has the freedom, not to mention the clout, to do whatever he wants with his material. And whichever major label he uses for distribution should just be damn glad that they even get to ride the Prince gravy train. So what motivation does the industry have to threaten the purple one. Well...greed is certainly a factor, but perhaps the desire to send a message to other artists is the bigger motivation.

Consider that, unlike any other industry save for Big Oil, the music industry is in complete control of the production chain, from creation through final sale, and any effort to put control back in the hands of the artists is a grave threat. Look at the industry's battle against peer-to-peer. Think it's all about piracy eroding industry profits? Think again. The wholesale assault on peer-to-peer is about shutting down a distribution technology that would free artists from the major labels. And so Prince's attempt to wet his fan's appetites doesn't threaten the industry because they might loose a few sales. It threatens them because it might become a model for advertising--a mechanism of visibility--that the industry doesn't control--Promotion without payola.

17 Comments:

Well, good for Prince! ;)

Nice post too!
Hello, Kvatch.
Not sure what the details of this are, or why the record company is in such a snit, but freebies have long been a mainstay of band promotion-- stickers, singles, CD's, and such, usually at live shows or to radio stations that later distribute the stuff.

My old drummer had a brother-in-law that worked for Virgin in LA, and part of this guy's job was to fly around to shows and pass out the freebies. We would get phone cards with the logos of bands that hadn't been released yet on them and such.

I 'm inclined to think that it's something about the Mail in particular that they're upset with.

But you're right in principle about the distributions. Fewer distributors than record companies.
Great post.

My homeboy knows what he's doing.
I've always said that if you want to do something to stop the recording industry or movie industry from suing you for downloading music or movies you need to hit them in the pocket book.

By that I mean a national boycott of all cd's, dvd's, tapes etc... etc...

I remember back when I use to buy music I ended up buying an album for only one or two tracks I actually liked.

With each new technology advance I would have to repurchase the same music but in its new format.

So how many times have you had too do the same?

The internet is a wonderful thing and it will be under attack for content traded or even the passing of ideas and thoughts as many of us do now.

I fear that the Government will attempt to stop dissent over the internet as it has pretty much done in the MSM now.

How soon before they shut us down under the excuse we give aid and comfort to the enemy?

It may be sooner than we think so we have too get the message out to the rest of the world we are not our Government. We do not condone what they are doing in our name.

Control of the means of communication is a classic of all Dictatorships and we can expect no less here soon.

God Bless.
Hopefully your words won't be prophetic, Anon, but I fear you're right! Control is the name of the game whether for governments or business. Cheers.
I love the guilt trip that the record stores are throwing on Prince. Talkin' 'bout they supported him when he was just getting started, like they would have carried his records if they weren't flying off the shelves. Like they didn't get paid big time off that exchange. Ridiculous.
more power to prince, or the dude who used to be called prince. all i know is that phallic guitar definitely grabs womens attention. these music companies are soooo greedy, sometimes i want to become famous just so i can spite them.
Prince is smart. I wish him success. Nice to see someone bucking the system.
What's a record store?
Why does Prince need to give away music?
I tried to comment sooner, but all my bandwidth is being taken up by bit torrent.

;)
kvatch...

Please check out my newest post. It's on the Torture policy and I'd really like to get this spread all over the World if possible.

It may be the only way to hold these sh*theads accountable and maybe even get our country back.

Thanks and God Bless.
Suzie-Q, Lizzy... Thanks. I think that Prince has the clout and the talent to tell the labels and stores to "stick it". And he should!

ProgressiveT... Perhaps you're right and it's just the "non-traditional" method he's choosing. As I think you're alluding to, if you cut out the industry middle-man, they get ticked off.
AnonP, Daniel... You both may very well be right on the Internet dissent thing, but I have faith that if the government clamps down on the existing Internet, ad-hoc, "point-to-point" wireless networks will spring up in its place.

SA... So true. In fact, Prince had a hell of a time in the late 70s early 80s getting his stuff into the stores.
RAFFI... No more phallic guitar for Prince. Dude's a Jehovah's Witness now. No drinking, swearing, carrying on...

Mary... Agreed. With his own creative output, he should be able to give it away if he wants to...

...sort of addresses your point Nvisiblewmn. I don't think that he needs to give it away so much as wants to. Sort of a big f*ck you to the industry.
Lew... "Record Store"? It's...uh...uh. Oh forget it, I can't explain it. ;-)

Fred... Torrents will eat your connection alive! ;-)
Prince Rocks! He one step ahead of those jerks that would chain his genius.

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