Digital Music

Prince: “The internet’s completely over.”

According to the artist commonly known as Prince, in an interview with the UK's Daily Mirror – the publication that will be giving away his new album 20TEN in a cover mounted promotion this week:

image from www.thefunkstore.com "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 At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated… all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.  They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

This is Prince's reasoning as to why there will be no digital downloads or even physical copies available to fans – other than those who pick 20TEN up with the Daily Mirror.  To which, Steve Purdham, CEO of digital music site we7 said:

There’s no denying that Prince is an unbelievable artistHowever, the Internet is increasingly becoming a basic requirement of modern life, just like electricity and flowing water, and we haven’t seen anything yet as the Internet as we know it is still in its infancy.  Regarding Prince’s reference to MTV, it’s just a series of TV programs which has fallen out of vogue, TV certainly hasn’t died."

enigmax over at TorrentFreak summed up this story the best:

"With nowhere else but from a newspaper in limited numbers to get the album, Prince fans will turn to the web in their millions."

Prince's business model seems to go something like this:  Don't connect with your fans and don't give them a reason to buy, nor a place to buy—anywhere on the web.  I bet this will be the most copied digital strategy since Radiohead. 

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11 Comments

  1. Incredible. Prince has gone from innovator to dinosaur in one sentence.
    If Prince’s priority is to secure advance payment, then he is doing the right thing to partner with old media while he still can. Before long, there will be no more old media with which to partner. That’ll be the day either his priorities shift and he patches things up with the fans he has left, or he begins to fossilize and become history.

  2. I think it’s genius! He will get a huge lump of cash from the mirror, and due to his controversial (and slightly idiotic) statement people will flock to The Pirate Bay in their millions, for the sheer fact that it will be one of the only places to get it, thus spreading his music more than he could ever have done by just releasing yet another price album.

  3. I agree with him. He’s getting paid and distributing his music. Previously, he gave away CD’s with his live show tickets in order to successfully place on the charts. He is still an innovator – he’s probably releasing a mediocre album and getting outsize publicity.

  4. Always feeding the controversy is the “artist formally known as Prince” The internet is far from “Completely Over”. I can only imagine such an inflammatory statement is positioned to build buzz. He must realize that his release strategy will only prove his statement to be wrong. With such a limited reach found in the readership of the “daily reader” 1000’s of people are going to upload the album to the web so the masses can grab it. Clever marketing? Perhaps. Accurate statement? Hell no. Guess I’ll have to download this one once the readership of the daily mirror makes it available. Dude can play some guitar. I’ll give it a listen 😉

  5. I think Prince is doing exactly what we all said we wanted to do when we got into this business.
    He makes his own decisions, on his own terms, for his own reasons, and probably could care less what people think about it.
    Just awesome.

  6. Great publicity stunt that clearly worked, clever move.
    However the line that “iTunes get angry when they can’t get hold of it” is perfect pop star egotism!
    I can just see Steve Jobs now, sitting in the Apple offices with a red face, his blood pressure soaring because iTunes doesn’t stock the new Prince CD LOL!
    iTunes (stocking many great artists and bands other than Prince) and the internet will be around for eternity, long after the Symbol formerly known as a great guitarist and songwriter leaves this mortal coil.
    The internet is far from over, we’re only just at the beginning of the digital age. If Henry Ford had said in the 1920’s “The motor car is so over” where would we be now!
    What I find strange though is that he chooses a small tabloid rag to release it through, sure they probably pay handsomely, but its just a UK demographic. The model he’s using could have a lot of potential if he’d picked a more classy worldwide channel for distribution.
    Top dollar for innovation though!

  7. iTunes does demand exclusives and they probably are upset that they aren’t selling this CD. He’s not wrong. I enjoy iTunes but I look forward to them having less power.

  8. Brilliant move from Prince.
    People focus too much on formats.
    Kid Rock, AC/DC, etc. sell millions by NOT selling digitally.

  9. I think you might want to check your sources on that. While I’m the first to admit iTunes has their problems. iTunes featured us on the main page last year, and asked for nothing in return. Conversely, I know acts who have done the iTunes exclusives and not seen alot of kickback in return.

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