Monday, July 09, 2007

The Prince of Darkness,

better known as Miles Davis, knew exactly what he was saying when he pointed out the brilliance of another Prince, you know, Prince Prince. Aside from the wicked falsetto and ripping licks, who would have thunk it that he would also become the industry's foremost market experimenter? Last week, he up and pissed off the entire music industry again and inked a deal with the Globe and Mail in London to distribute his new album Planet Earth for free with three million Sunday editions.

His record label nixed the conventional distribution of his album in the UK, likely sighting saturation issues when 3 million hard copies hit the street, and Virgin Records, already reeling from shitty sales along with the rest of the industry, blew a testicle over the revelations. The U.K.’s Entertainment Retailers Association co-chairman Paul Quirk (unfortunate name) said:
“The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behavior like
this, he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.”
That sounds an awful lot like a threat, Mr. Quirk. Not the kind of thing you should be saying if your skippering a ship that is going the way of the 8-track. It's very interesting for me to hear an entire industry whine about their entitlement to not only existence, but to absolute control over production and distribution of a product. A good parallel might be the anger surely caused to compass makers once GPS was privatized. Of course that argument was probably short, as the usefulness of the new technology became clear to everybody.

This isn't the first time Prince has smeared poop on the walls of the record industry. In the Warner Brothers dispute years (Artist Formerly Known as , etc), he released multiple albums on the internet only, a completely unheard of concept at the time, and banked gazzillions of bux. In fact, he makes more now than he ever did in his "big years" of '82-'86, officially becoming the top industry earner in 2004. And it probably wont be the last revolutionary business move for the fem-funk prince. All hail the King! Besides, any body heard of Michael Jackson lately without it being a setup for a boy-ass joke?

Update: Wired has it right.

No comments: