Remember back in the day when it seemed like Prince was the musician who really had figured out
these new digital-era business models? He had done all these interesting experiments, many of which focused on selling new and unique scarcities, and not worrying so much about the infinite goods in the music. Honestly, it seemed like he was the first real "rock star" to be willing not to just experiment, but to embrace the digital era. But all that came crashing down really, really quickly when a few things became apparent. First, while he loved to experiment with new business models, he didn't seem to actually pay attention to the results. In fact, it became evident that he had little follow through ability at all. He would just throw stuff out there, with promises to his fans, and then not follow through
Second, when it came to Prince and his music, he is all
about control. Control is everything to him. And one thing that does not work
in this new digital era is being ridiculously anal about controlling how others access or listen to your music. So, he went somewhat ballistic, suing
various internet sites for copyright infringement, including YouTube and eBay, which were both odd choices. Since then, he's walled himself off further and further from the internet. Rather than embrace it, he seems to want to deny it exists all together.
And, it appears, he's now taking that to a new extreme.
points us to a recent interview with Prince by the Mirror
out of the UK. Most of the interview just highlights the bizzaro "Prince World" that Prince lives in. On that subject, if you have never seen Kevin Smith's brilliant and hilarious half-hour discussion
of his brief time in "Prince World," it's totally worth your time. Having seen that, the interview itself doesn't seem quite so bizarre, but does seem like "Prince-as-usual."
But, within the interview, Prince notes that his new album will only
be released on CD, and not online. In fact, it looks like he's doing the exact same CD release strategy
he's done before: release the album with a newspaper
. If you subscribe to the newspaper, you get a free copy of the CD. The newspaper pays Prince a huge upfront, so he gets tons of guaranteed cash, and it helps the newspaper keep subscriptions. I actually think that part's pretty creative, even though he's done it before. But you would think that fits well
with an internet strategy. Not according to Prince:
He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There'll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses.
Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.
He says: "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."
Of course, this won't keep Prince's music offline. The music will be online in no time at all, and it'll be everywhere, except that Prince won't have any
control or say in it whatsoever. But, of course, if he thinks it's over and outdated and no good at all, he won't notice that because he won't be online.