Prince is giving away LOTS of free music via a newspaper in the UK – full details here. As the article states, ” Prince’s new 10-track CD “Planet Earth” will be included with an upcoming Mail on Sunday, the newspaper’s managing director, Stephen Miron, told Reuters on Friday.”
Seems as though record companies are having a fit at the idea of giving away that many albums. Retail stores are pulling out of contracts. Critics are ranting at the top of their lungs. Record companies are pissed. One record store owner is quoted as saying:
“It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career. It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.”
Here are the reasons what Prince is doing is right, and everyone else is wrong:
- Prince doesn’t make music for the record stores (the distributors); he makes it for the fans (the customers). And for his own enjoyment.
- CDs and plastic cases will continue to die. Don’t know if you’ve heard of this little phenomenon called the iPod, but it’s kinda caught on, and it completely negates the record store. Is it sad? Maybe. But it’s reality.
- I guarantee Prince will sell more of this album than any of his last three. He’s getting huge PR out of this, and huge trial and new exposure.
- Prince is also launching a 21 night concert series . . . . in London only. Is that fair for the rest of the world? It does make his giveaway make perfect sense.
- Prince is thinking big picture; the British record dealers/stores are thinking about themselves. In all fairness, many of those record dealers have only themselves to think about, but not the record company. If I had an artist who was willing to give away that many CDs to launch an album, I would be elated. Blogging will start, fan reviews will commence and the word will start spreading. It’s perfect advertising and promotion.
Obviously, you’ll get a completely different paradigm reading this article at the newspaper’s website. It’s being touted as the “world’s greatest newspaper giveaway ever.”
I’m a huge Prince fan, so more times than not, I’m gonna automatically be on his side. But I think this is a great business decision for his album. In many ways, Prince has far outdone KISS in being a true marketing innovator in the music business.
We’ll see where it stands in 6 months. What do you think will happen?