Music Retailers Flip Out That Prince Wants To Give Away His Music

from the it's-madness! dept

For years, some have been saying that the real problem holding back the music industry from embracing digital distribution hasn't been the record labels so much as the record stores. In fact, in the Rolling Stone article about the suicide of the recording industry, one of the key stumbling blocks was that the music retailers threatened the record labels if they embraced digital distribution such as Napster. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that music retailers are spitting mad over Prince's plans to give away his latest album. Prince has actually been on the cutting edge of new music business and distribution models for many years, so this doesn't come as much of a surprise. What's interesting, is that he's actually linking two troubled industries: recording and newspapers in a way that helps both. His latest CD will be available for free with a newspaper in the UK -- and the newspaper is thrilled because it's going to seriously increase circulation for that week. This is a perfectly reasonable idea: it adds value to the newspaper and makes it a more worthwhile purchase, while at the same time getting Prince a lot of attention and many more people hearing his latest works (which opens up many more opportunities for him to make more money through concerts, back catalog, merchandise, appearances, sponsorships, etc.).

However, the music retailers are freaking out that someone else might distribute music instead of them. Apparently they haven't been paying much attention to all that online distribution of music that goes on these days and the fact that the business model of the traditional record shop is pretty much dead and buried. Instead, they blame Prince for actually getting more fans to hear his music. "It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," claimed one. Another said: "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores." Of course, that's the funniest one, since it's pretty clear that Prince has already realized he's better off without the record stores. Then there's the head of HMV: "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." Basically, what you're reading here is an industry in complete and total denial over the fact that their service (delivering plastic discs to willing buyers) is a business model that's increasingly obsolete.

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  1. identicon
    Comicfan, 2 Jul 2007 @ 1:56am

    Re: The middle-men are screaming at being cut out

    Walter, you bring up a very good point. I wanted to state something off your comment. Movie industries have since been on the no copying DVDs for a time now, they tell us it takes away from movie producers, etc...like the RIAA did with CDs. I don't know if you will agree or not, but wasn't there a time before VHS? Before DVD? Didn't movies survive from theaters alone? From the statements of producers and such on DVDs, they sound as if they have no real profit from DVDs. As well, it's known artists get little or nothing from CD sales. So being it's cheaper than ever to make music, tapes were more expensive as were vinyl, so why the high price? Well as you said, middle men. Prince is attempting to eliminate this and in my opinion, I hope he succeeds. I do feel for some record stores but let's face it, times they are a changin'. Who sang that? Can't recall, but very good words.

    Side note off topic: I love how the DVD anti piracy shows a girl downloading and burning a movie in seconds, loll. 4 gigs, downloaded in seconds. Anyone who downloads knows that 4 gigs is a task for even the faster speeds. Leave it to anti-piracy ads.

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