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Music Industry Attacks Free Prince CD 667

Posted by Zonk
from the money-for-nothing dept.
Mike writes "You might not like Prince, but he's planning on giving away a free CD in a national British newspaper. Harmless publicity, right? The music industry disagrees. Executives are practically going insane over the idea and are threatening to 'retaliate'. 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday,' said Entertainment Retailers Association spokesman Paul Quirk, who also said it would be 'an insult' to record stores. Shouldn't an artist be able to give away his own music if he wants to without fear of industry retaliation?"
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Music Industry Attacks Free Prince CD

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  • Please retaliate. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daeg (828071) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:04PM (#19691529)
    The more bad press you give us, the more ammunition bands have to never sign with you in the first place. Keep it up, you're doing a better job at killing yourselves than we music lovers could ever do!
    • by Adambomb (118938) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:11PM (#19691631) Journal
      So what you're saying is the more they tighten their grip, the more stars will slip through their fingers? =D
      • No, what they're saying is that Prince is somehow incarcerated! All proceeds from these "Free Prince" CDs go towards paying off his lawyer fees. Please ignore the fact that "Kevin" has been scratched out and "Prince" is penciled in.

        S.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Isn't it somewhat ironic that they're using Machiavellian tactics against Prince?
    • Re:Please retaliate. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:16PM (#19691699) Journal
      Prince is rich. He is content with his career. He was already in one tizzy with the labels and bolted, which made him more money. He became Prince again, made more money. He already owns his own recording studio. Okay, so he may lose a distributor or two. Prince has never shown himself to care about the NORMAL way of doing things.
      • by Stamen (745223) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:31PM (#19691981)
        Yeah, I agree. I don't particularly like his music, but I'm inclined to buy a CD just to support him. If an artist with Prince's power, can't create some art, and give it away (or do whatever else they darn well please), then what hope is there for "lesser" artists to be able to enjoy their freedoms.

        I wasn't a fan before, but I am now.
        • Re:Please retaliate. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:44PM (#19692229) Journal
          I don't particularly like his music, but I'm inclined to buy a CD just to support him.

          I, on the other hand, haven't been buying (or downloading) much if any music for years. But not long ago I hit a Prince video on the cable and was impressed by how good (IMHO) the music was. (The stage show was a separate issue - but doesn't come across on the audio-only CD. B-) ) Tastes vary.

          This gives me an excuse to go out and buy a CD I can expect to be decent, supporting a good artist AND tweaking the RIAA's nose simultaneously.
          • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:23PM (#19692817)
            I don't buy a lot of music from local retailers anymore either. Why bother when I can find much more of what I'm interested in online then I can locally. Part of that may be from be older and not as up to date on new releases or new bands as others are.

            I still buy though. Basically the way I see locals stores is this:
            They essentially 'ban' anything not very popular - hey, I realize you can't stock everything but when they don't carry music that I want I do look elsewhere. Local retailers in the UK ban Prince and do they really think that Prince fans will stop looking for Prince music? Prince fans will simply find another source for their music (iTunes or Amazon maybe) and quite possibly continue with that source in the future.

            • by enjerth (892959) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:59PM (#19693299)

              Prince fans will simply find another source for their music (iTunes or Amazon maybe)
              ... or maybe to the Sunday paper.
            • by Miseph (979059) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:00PM (#19693309) Journal
              The solution is to have a couple of good music stores in the area.

              It always baffles me when people say they can't find even slightly obscure music until I remember that I live in an awesome culture bubble; I grew up with both a very good new music and excellent used music store right in town, and could double or triple both numbers by driving an extra 10-15 minutes to the nearest (very small) city. Anything we really wanted and couldn't get right away we could have special ordered, and it was rare that such a thing needed doing. I still have trouble comprehending when places like Best Buy or FYE (to be fair, they aren't so bad for a national chain) only carry an artist's latest release, or when they forgo well-known and highly influential bands that broke up over a decade ago for some no-hit-wonder pop kid that everybody has already forgotten just because they weren't born yet when the former was in their prime.

              Anyway, if anyone out there is in the Amherst/Northampton, MA area and doesn't know any good music stores, check out Mystery Train (used) and Newbury Comics in Amherst, or Turn It Up! in Northampton. In Buffalo I also used to go to New World record on Elmwood, I recall it being next to a Spot Coffee.

              The internet is great and all, but there's nothing quite like browsing through a local B&M for music.
          • by hondo77 (324058) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:02PM (#19693345) Homepage

            I, on the other hand, haven't been buying (or downloading) much if any music for years.

            Welcome to middle age. :-)

          • Re:Please retaliate. (Score:5, Informative)

            by sh00z (206503) <sh00z@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:53PM (#19694041) Journal

            This gives me an excuse to go out and buy a CD I can expect to be decent, supporting a good artist AND tweaking the RIAA's nose simultaneously.
            It's not the RIAA (or the UK equivalent) that's protesting. It's the Entertainment Retailers Association, which stands to lose their "cut" of the profits arising from the sale of the CD's. I know the article saya "music industry," but it's not the usual part of the music industry that we all hate so much. It's the middle-men, whining.
            • by mythar (1085839) on Friday June 29, 2007 @05:44PM (#19694587) Journal
              so, what part of the riaa isn't middle-men?
            • by AdamD1 (221690) <.moc.burniarb. .ta. .mada.> on Saturday June 30, 2007 @01:38PM (#19700475) Homepage
              People (especially this retail support organization) seem to forget that Prince gave away copies of his last cd with every ticket sold to see his live show as well. That was two years ago and there was some debate over whether these CD's counted as "copies sold" from a Billboard chart point of view. I seem to remember Prince saying in an interview at the time that he didn't care whether it meant he got on a chart, that it was good for exposing the music, period.

              Retailers fail to innovate and then complain when an artist does. I don't get it.

              It's not their right to profit from his CD's, it's their privilege. If they were smart, rather than not carrying the cd, they should offer a deep discount on it. The newspaper thing is a one-off, it's not like every single copy of every daily paper is including a copy.

              They should also keep in mind that if Prince can afford to do this out of his own pocket, imagine competing for the same amount of advertising dollars from him. Why isn't any single retail operation thinking this way?

              They wonder why the major retailers are suffering. They keep front-racking the same crap against which Prince knows he has no chance of competing. (He's not 17 nor is he female and hot, he's 50 and an accomplished musician with a serious history, something no label or retailer cares to promote.)

              Further: Not everybody who gets that paper is going to be a Prince fan. So his market penetration isn't going to be to his main target audience, though probably many fans will shell out for the paper. (Keep in mind he just sold out several dates in the UK at the O2 Arena, with several more still on sale.)

              I challenge any retailer to claim that they could sell as many cd's as this giveaway would total. I really doubt they'd care to. They wouldn't rack it with the same exposure as Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake or Rihanna. It's not in their best interests to do so.

              I haven't shopped at a brick-and-mortar retail store for my music in several years now and it's crap like this that makes me feel like it's probably just as well. Music retailers don't care about talent, they care about widgets. They should be the ones coming up with stunts like this (or the labels and their marketing divisions.)

              I'm sick of hearing retailers complain whenever someone does something purely musical like this. Sure it's a stunt but it shows he wants the music to get out there, which is more than I could say for any label or retailer these days.

              ad
        • by brjndr (313083) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:07PM (#19692581)
          I don't particularly like his music, but I'm inclined to buy a CD just to support him.

          Yes, I too will buy this free CD.
          • You're just going to end up ruining it for everyone else when the government notices the lucrative market for free CDs and applies a whopping 300% tax. I hope you're happy now.
          • by arth1 (260657) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:10PM (#19693455) Homepage Journal
            If the only way this CD is being distributed is bundled with a UK newspaper, I expect quite a few people will buy this CD, for far more than a CD normally costs. In any case, if there's anything at all distinguishing it from other CDs, it will become a collector's item.

            This is good marketing, and nothing new either. Do anyone else remember the record singles bundled with magazines back a few decades ago? I can't remember the record companies getting their panties in a twist over that -- they were the ones doing it!
            But now when someone independent wants to do the same, it's suddenly a horrible thing?
            It sure is, for them. This is yet another revelation showing the public that the record companies really aren't in it for the artist, but are a money grabbing and unneccessary oligopoly, working for themselves only. Spreading awareness of this is a good thing.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Alsee (515537)
            I was going to make a joke asking for a torrent link, but I can't figure out whether asking for a torrent link for a free CD is ironic, or not ironic, or ironic for not being ironic, or doubly ironic, or.....

            ahhhhhhh! HELP! My head just my head a'sploded!

            -
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:53PM (#19694039) Homepage Journal
          I love this story. It shows just how insane the current system of ownership for creative work has become. An artist who wants to give his work away for free is considered to be attacking the industry. Well, what exactly is "the industry" if not a system put in place so artists can be rewarded for creating music? At least, that was the original idea. Who the hell is some music executive who believes he has some special claim on the work of someone else?

          The beauty of this story is that it's not only already-successful, rich artists like Prince who can be successful outside of the current system. With a little creativity (and after all, aren't musicians supposed to be creative?) a composer, band or producer can find ways to make a living that don't involve giving the lion's share of profits and control to some talentless turd with an MBA. I've found quite a few excellent examples of this on the web.

          I won't buy anything from the first, second or third tier of record labels, period. If I want to hear the music, I'll download a copy, and if it's any good, I'll go see the artist when he comes to town. Mainly, if I buy music, I'll do it directly from the artist, which is becoming increasingly common.

          I want to see the entertainment/industrial complex completely collapse. Then, I want the current model of intellectual property to fall apart. I know this makes me a crazy radical, but I think I've had just about enough of being pissed on and told that it's a shower of gold. It may be hopeless to expect the world to become more friendly to regular working people who aren't trying to scam, rob, or otherwise hurt others just so they can say they "won", but I've decided I'm not going to spend the rest of my life playing along with a system that is as corrupt, backwards and harmful as this one. Especially since I don't have to. I'm willing to trade having a device in my pocket that's delivering the latest offerings from Disney in my pocket for a little bit of fairness. And best of all, I don't have to lay down at night feeling like I've been fucked all day against my will.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)
      If they hadn't pooped themselves over this I probably wouldn't have heard about it.
    • Re:Please retaliate. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:53PM (#19692359)
      Exactly. Who would not read this and think: 1) Big business record companies crying about this? 2) Little ole Prince...who is a man of the people. (He really has looked out for his fellow recording artists...and helped many escape the trap that is the RECORDING companies contracts.) 3) How will this tantrum help the record companies...it wont. Prince who was already a hero in my book for fighting the record companies and kickin their asses. (over his name / music)....is now approaching GOD status. I hope he does this again and again...and continues to PISS on the record companies. They have everything to fear from him. he does not NEED THEM AT ALL!!! and he is gathering new artists to the cause. He is getting their music made without the contracts for ownership of the musicians soul and he is breaking the mold. You may not like his music but as far as the man goes...there is little not to like. A lot think he was just an oversexed pop star...but truth is he is quite talented and very smart. Go Prince Go. I will do what i can to buy your music and your produced music. One last thing about the big record companies...you would think they would have learned that squaring off against Prince has been nothing but a dismal loss for them...yet they continue to act in ways that destroy them. As for the retaliation....BRING IT ON MFer's....I know Prince aint scared of you...and in a caged death match my moneys on Prince.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:05PM (#19691537) Homepage
    Prince should just open his own online store. Publicly announce he is no longer a member of the RIAA, and start selling his music online via his own channels. I'm sure he is rich enough to give them the finger.
    • by russ1337 (938915) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:37PM (#19692079)
      >>Prince should just open his own online store

      Giving his music away FREE by this particular method of distribution likely means those agencies that try to collect fees from 'transmission / broadcast' cannot do so. (if it was streamed, then media sentry (or equivilent) might try to charge him for distribution). Bundling with the sunday news means he can do it for the cost of the actual media which might actually be free for him if an advertiser picks up the tab.

      If he gives this away free, then sharing it on p2p might not* be against the law. If this sells more Prince CD's, then other artists might follow making it pretty untidy for the record companies and their 'illegal to share music even if its Public domain or Copy-left etc.

      [* depending on any shrink-wrap agreement on the cover of the CD. ]
      • by Tran (721196) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:55PM (#19693259)
        Just because he is giving away CDs for free doesn't mean he is giving away his copyrights, so it doesn't automatically make it legal for anyone else to distribute the contents of the CD via, lets says P2P or streaming.
        If the copyright notice on this free CD says that anyone can copy and distribute, that is a different matter alltogether.
        I wonder if anyone would question that "shrink wrap" agreement?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        Shrinkwrap shminkwrap. That doesn't matter.

        In order for you to legally redistribute copies someone else's works, you need to have specific legal permission to do so, unless it is known to be public domain (this is not) or fair use (P2P is not). Note, I exclude personal copies or reselling the original CD. It doesn't matter what the sale price of the original work was. If the CD actually says that it's OK to redistribute copies, then no, it's not legal.
      • by Pendersempai (625351) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:40PM (#19693853)
        Brush up on your copyright law. Free does not mean public domain, and copyright is the default -- no shrink-wrap license is necessary to forbid copying.
  • where to start? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:05PM (#19691545) Journal

    So an artist decides to share his music and give it away. Where to start with the ensuing anguish by the industry?

    • warning artist Formerly known as Prince he may become the artist formerly available in record stores? Is that a threat? (BTW, I believe he is once again the artist known as Prince... it'd be nice for the industry to keep better tabs on their talent).
    • disrespectful to record stores? Hwah? How? Because they don't get to sell the CDs Prince decided to give away? I recently gave a camera to a friend... should the local camera shop be angry? I dinged their sales!
    • the industry is threatening to "retaliate". Fork 'em. Let 'em. I'd be interested in how that plays out.

    If the RIAA and music industry could be anthropomorphized, they'd be that crazy uncle anybody would keep up in the attic.

    • by cunamara (937584) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:56PM (#19692389)

      (BTW, I believe he is once again the artist known as Prince... it'd be nice for the industry to keep better tabs on their talent)

      Yes, he is now The Artist Fomerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. He's now called "Prince" for short.

    • Re:where to start? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:17PM (#19693537) Homepage Journal
      disrespectful to record stores? Hwah? How? Because they don't get to sell the CDs Prince decided to give away? I recently gave a camera to a friend... should the local camera shop be angry? I dinged their sales!

      Replace "camera" with "music," and "local camera shop" with "giant media conglomerate," and the answer, I think, is yes.

      It seems that in the past 10 years or so, many corporations have decided to treat anything that denies them revenue as if it's identical to actually taking something they already had. Personally, I think it's an effect of the type of cash-flow accounting and projection that's now overwhelmingly popular, where the entire worth of your business (read: stock price) is based on how much money you think you're going to make. When it turns out that, oops, you didn't actually make that much money, they go absolutely berzerk and start looking for anyone to pin the blame on. Because, to them, they've already made that money, in some weird way, as soon as they started projecting it.
      • Re:where to start? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Thundersnatch (671481) on Friday June 29, 2007 @05:24PM (#19694371) Journal

        It seems that in the past 10 years or so, many corporations have decided to treat anything that denies them revenue as if it's identical to actually taking something they already had. Personally, I think it's an effect of the type of cash-flow accounting and projection that's now overwhelmingly popular, where the entire worth of your business (read: stock price) is based on how much money you think you're going to make. When it turns out that, oops, you didn't actually make that much money, they go absolutely berzerk and start looking for anyone to pin the blame on. Because, to them, they've already made that money, in some weird way, as soon as they started projecting it.

        I really hope you don't work in the financial industy. The valuation of a company [wikipedia.org] is actually a fairly stnadardized concrete thing. It is based on the analysis of a rational outsider, not the "projections" of an insider.

        As for people being upset and looking for scpegoats when they don't meet budgets or forecasts, well, that's been happening for hundreds of years. Brunswick, the bowling company, was in the 1950s valued very highly by some stock speculators because "bowling was exploding in popularity". Then things collapsed on them as the true, limited market for bowling equipment was saturated. Executives were fired, stock price tanked, etc. There really is nothing new or different about what's happening in some areas of business today.

  • Key line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:05PM (#19691547) Journal
    which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music

    "Perception of value"... that just about says it all, doesn't it?

    • Re:Key line (Score:5, Insightful)

      by virgil_disgr4ce (909068) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:15PM (#19691687) Homepage
      I want to scream in these executive's faces: "The value of music is not monetary."

      That's all there is to it. Music obviously can be bought and sold, and I don't care if you buy it or sell it. But the fact that these labels and businessmen cannot fathom a world in which it is not bought or sold is just disgusting.

      Markets change, douchebags. Everybody lives with it. But the real value of music isn't going to change as long as humans have ears.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I want to scream in these executive's faces: "The value of music is not monetary."

        If it's desirable it has value. If it has value it's usually possible to monetize it, which tends to enable and/or streamline the exchange of it for other things of value, encouraging production and better satisfaction of demand (read "desire") for the thing of value.

        The RIAA wants to take advantage of the monetization of the value of something they don't themselves create, taking a cut of the resulting cash flow from fans to
      • Re:Key line (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rinikusu (28164) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:57PM (#19692409)
        Disclaimer: I'm a musician. I'd prefer people to buy my music rather than just download it for free because, obviously, I can use that money that they pay to do things like pay my rent, eat something other than ramen noodles, fix/replace equipment, and put gas in the van (not to mention maintenance). Touring is "where the money's" at, so people keep saying, and I keep seeing "touring" as a break-even proposition at *best*, and most artists, if you bother to ask them, will tell you they're losing money by touring. Unless you're pulling in thousands of people to see you where economies of scale work better for you, merch sales are "pleasant bonuses" which means I might can eat something that's not on the 99 cent value menu for a meal. Not to mention that this is with a pretty decent network of people to give up couches and floors to save on Motel costs. Now, at age 34, it's harder and harder to do these kind of tours. Let's face it: I'm not in the next Green Day or Metallica or whatever. Those guys are the exceptions. Even Fugazi (who make a small mint touring and on record sales) are exceptions to the rule. The vast majority of working artists are not rich. We rely upon our friendships and networks to keep us fed and sheltered when we're out on the road. We all have to quit jobs after saving up a small wad of cash just to tour, and once we get back, we come back to stacks of unpaid bills, eviction notices, storage room fees, unfaithful significant others, and the realization that the drummer (guitarist/bassist/etc) is a fucking prick and have to kick him out and look for a new one. Touring bands rarely keep jobs for more than a few months (imagine how that looks when you're applying anywhere), rarely have time to "improve skills" for better paying jobs (say, programming), and generally have a really tough time. Many bands break up during tours due to the fact that once you're in close proximity with your bandmates 24/7 for months at a time, stuffed in a van, sleeping next to each other on a cold, hard floor, and that every character flaw is magnified due to lack of proper sleep, nutrition, and stress. Not everyone can hack touring constantly.

        And those of us who can, well, we generally love what we're doing. It's worth it.

        So, from the artist's standpoint, I want you to buy my music. I want you to pay the $5-$10 we charge at the door and come see us because that $5-$10 really just gets us to the next show. Hell, I want you to buy a T-Shirt for $10 (HA!), a bunch of stickers ($1), a button ($1.50), and give the band a blowjob, because, well, I'm selfish that way.

        But, if it comes down to strictly exposure, I want everyone to experience my music, whether they pay for it or not. If someone finds my music on Limewire, I want them to get it and hear it. You'll find most musicians have the same notion. /ranting at work (at least I have a decent paying tech job to support my losing effort)

        • Re:Key line (Score:5, Funny)

          by Mr Krinkle (112489) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:55PM (#19693255) Homepage
          "and give the band a blowjob, because, well, I'm selfish that way."

          Dude.
          You are asking for a bunch of fat male geeks on /. to give you a blow job?
          And in the same post you complain about "unfaithful significant others,"
          Hmmm
          I'm not sure what bothers me more, hypocrisies or that you have a disturbing attraction to fat male geeks. I'm just going to wander off to the pub to enjoy a pint.

          Disturbing.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Tony (765)
            I'm not sure what bothers me more, hypocrisies or that you have a disturbing attraction to fat male geeks.

            Assuming he's a he, he didn't say he *currently* has an S.O. Your assumption of hypocrisy is, dare I say, a little presumptuous.

            Yes. I did dare. And I feel better for it.

            There's still that fat geek thing, though.
        • Re:Key line (Score:4, Interesting)

          by blackmonday (607916) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:09PM (#19693441) Homepage
          Ok, but there's nothing wrong with working a 9 to 5 job to make a decent living, so you can play weekend tours on the side, and hope to get a little cash and exposure. You don't have to be the next Green Day or Metallica to taste success. Every time someone buys a CD or a shirt you've been succesful.

          I feel you on the band member situation. I've been lucky to play with the same guys for over 10 years, but I know all the horror stories.

          I gave up on joining the big leagues a long time ago, and it doesn't bother me. The quarterly cdbaby check is meager, but I have a real job...stay away from that 99 cent menu!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Rinikusu (28164)
            Oh certainly. I've done my share of weekend "tours" and I've never regretted a single one, even though each one was a "losing" proposition financially. However, I do have my stories and my experiences and frankly, those are worth more to me than the idea of making money, so I'm not bitching about that at all. I just want people and potential music fans (not necessarily of my band/music) to understand that the whole argument of bands making money on the road is pretty much a myth. A lot of factors come i
    • Re:Key line (Score:5, Funny)

      by hxnwix (652290) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:27PM (#19691917) Journal
      Your flippant comment adds insult to injury. Prince did not get where he is today by standing out or taking chances - he needs to stay within the reservation, abide by his contract and avoid this sort of publicity.

      Desperation is a stinky cologne, Prince.

      -The RIAA
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ThosLives (686517)

      Depends on the value of what.

      Music: valuable.

      Music distribution and marketing services: Not so much any more.

      The latter is what scares the labels so much. They're not dumb; they know that in a battle between artists and distribution, distribution loses in the modern age because, while artists are scarce, distributors are not.

      The music distribution industry is, to borrow a cliché, already dead; it just hasn't stopped breathing yet.

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:05PM (#19691549)
    In the public mind, digital music already is rapidly approaching zero economic value, and this scares the crap out of the Music Industry.

    Of course they are pissed at Prince - his action reaffirms the value of digital music in the public mind.
    • In the public mind, digital music already is rapidly approaching zero economic value, and this scares the crap out of the Music Industry.

      Of course, it's the music industries' own fault. Instead of building up a digital distribution business to add value to customers, they've set out to hurt customers and to cripple their own products, thereby decreasing the value of (non-free) legal copies.

      If you want the "public mind" to value your service, make sure your service provides value to the public!

    • by budgenator (254554) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:23PM (#19691829) Journal
      Well lets see, the RIAA gives a promotional copy of the CD to a radio station (at $14.95 + $9.95 shipping and handling), and the artist has to cover the cost at ($0.08 / sale) which means he has to sell 312 cd's for every one given away to cover costs! No wonder someone finally said fuck that shit I'd rather give them away!
      Still I wouldn't be surprised if Prince didn't end up selling more records to replace scratched freebie CD's
    • is as it is and ever will be. One day soon, the phrase "I got it for a song" will have it's meaning back. It's not that talent is worthless, it's that it will not remain a centralized commodity three companies can manipulate and artificially limit. That it was is the real quirk.

  • by Bombula (670389) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:06PM (#19691561)
    'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.

    "The executive with an attitude like this should know that his outlets will soon be The Buildings That Used To Be Record Stores"

    Fixed that for ya.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by owlnation (858981)

      "The executive with an attitude like this should know that his outlets will soon be The Buildings That Used To Be Record Stores"

      Perhaps it's a good thing that the record shops are closing, seem that at least some of them are bad employers. See this BBC article from today about FOPP. [bbc.co.uk]

      Having employees work for a month for free before totally screwing them? Aren't record stores great! It's time more artists started disrespecting them.

      Buy music secondhand or direct from the artist -- never buy it any o

  • by overshoot (39700) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:07PM (#19691583)
    I love it -- they're actually foaming mad enough to publicly admit that they're engaged in a conspiracy in restraint of trade based on blocking artists' access to radio and retail.

    Should make for utterly gripping testimony in the antitrust lawsuit under Sherman Act Part One.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sasdrtx (914842) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:07PM (#19691591)
    Let the "industry" expose themselves for the idiots that they are. They're well on the way to irrelevance. Why would anyone want to slow them down?
  • by captainjaroslav (893479) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:08PM (#19691595)
    But, if that is the case, you are insane. Seriously. Okay, the current stuff isn't that good, but if you don't like Prince, you probably don't actually know much about him. If you learn about this musical genius, who, unfortunately gets lumped in with a lot of talentless 80s hitmakers (I hope you read this, Madonna), you will, at least, respect him.
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:09PM (#19691613)
    To actually answer the last question, "Shouldn't an artist be able to give away his own music if he wants to without fear of industry retaliation?". No.

    Just as Prince can do what he wishes with his business, so can they. They might just be shooting their own foot, but it is their right to do so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Maudib (223520)
      I dont know what the laws in the UK are like, but in the U.S. pulling Prince from record store shelves in retaliation would probably be a violation of anti-trust law.
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:26PM (#19691883)
      It's fine if they want to not invite him to the RIAA BBQ or something. Even tear up his membership card. It is not okay if they use their cartel to put pressure on other businesses, like retail stores and radio stations. That's pretty much exactly the behaviour that antitrust laws are designed to prevent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      I bristle at the thought of a 'right to retaliate'. Right to defend one's self, sure. But vengence isn't a 'right', is it? Or is this a case of two wrongs making a right? I'm confused...
  • by Not The Real Me (538784) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:10PM (#19691619)
    Q: "Shouldn't an artist be able to give away his own music..."

    A: If the music sucks then I think the answer is quite clear.

  • by OutOnARock (935713) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:12PM (#19691655)


    We could of our own free will send Prince $1 for each free CD he gives us!

    Do RIAA execs throw chairs?

    Disclaimer: I love Prince's work, have seen him live many times, and his guitar is amazing and every bit as good as Eddie Van Halen or Eric Clapton, who yes, I've also seen live.
  • by A10Mechanic (1056868) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:12PM (#19691657)
    We're going to party like it's on sale for $19.99 !! Thank you, come again!
  • An Insult? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alanw (1822) * <alan@wylie.me.uk> on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:12PM (#19691661) Homepage

    ... Paul Quirk, who also said it would be 'an insult' to record stores.
    Record stores? If the recording industry is genuinely interested in record stores (as opposed to on-line sellers of bit-streams or supermarkets selling just the top 20), why has yet another chain of decent record shops closed [bbc.co.uk] today in the UK? Perhaps he really means "a danger to my company's profits".
  • This is Prince (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:13PM (#19691673) Homepage
    Everybody know him, he doesn't need record labels. He really doesn't. He understands that.

    I would imagine that the record labels are actually more fearful of other artists like him coming to this realization.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:16PM (#19691703)
    From TFA:

    >The eagerly awaited new album by Prince is being launched as a free CD with a national Sunday
    >newspaper in a move that has drawn widespread criticism from music retailers.
    >.
    >.
    >.
    >Prince, whose Purple Rain sold more than 11m copies, also plans to give away a free copy
    >of his latest album with tickets for his forthcoming concerts in London

    Clearly, Prince gets it. Digital Content is no longer an object to sell itself, as it has no value anymore, but is merely an attraction to attract consumers to purchase other things.

    I think this is the mainstream start of the beginning of the end for people who have traditionally sold digital content to consumers. Those days are rapidly drawing to a close. With content so easily copyable, it's economic value is virtually zero. So there is no place for selling digital content to consumers anymore.

    BUT, you CAN sell your digital content to an advertising firm, who will use it as flypaper to attract consumers to buy physical things.

    This is precisely what Prince is doing. He isn't giving away his content for free. he's sold it to a newspaper company that will give it away to get people to buy (physical) newspapers, and he's giving them away to people who buy physical tickets to his concert.
    • So there is no place for selling digital content to consumers anymore.

      Almost. There is one final bit of value that people will be willing to pay for: finding what you want. Most people won't want to spend hours sifting through all the rubbish to find the one MP3 copy that doesn't sound like crud. Most people won't want to go through the work of discovering unknown musicians. They'll pay for someone else to filter the content and recommend certain musicians and certain digital recordings as being superior.

      What the equilibrium price is for this service, I don't know. I suspect it is lower than the current price, in general, but potentially much higher for especially good "editors" whose for-you tailored recommendations are outstanding. As far as I can see, this is the only remaining way anyone can hope to charge money for digital copies of music.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Adambomb (118938)
        This is one thing that I was wondering that you managed to put perfectly. It seems that the future focus of music is going to be in the DJ's/VJ's and those who focus on presenting the content. The content may be easily distributed and replicated these days, but it takes taste and a feel for ones audience to be truely great at setting up shows, mixed cd's, etc.

        Hopefully we'll start so see more music "packages" become available, where artists with similar target audiences hook up with a talented DJ/VJ type pe
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:18PM (#19691743)
    'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.

    Sure. Feel free to stop selling one of the more successful artists in the business. I'm sure that will encourage customers to come running to your store when they're looking to make a music purchase.

    Also, in case you haven't figured it out, Mr Quirk, Prince has figured out the dirty little secret of the music industry - he doesn't need you any more. In fact, he's been doing quite well ever since he told the music industry as a whole to get bent. In case you haven't been paying attention for the last few years...
  • by packetmon (977047) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:20PM (#19691763) Homepage
    Is it me or did the RIAA become the record industry's "Nazi Industrial Strike Force".

    Legally I don't think Prince can do this if his records are licensed. His distributor may seek to sue. On the flip side, he can always re-do a re-mix like release of said songs and release those worry free. I do believe though that if he went the ASCAP way though, he is legally bound to his distributor...

    With ASCAP and BMI control somewhere in the neighborhood of 98% crap, it all depends on copyrights at this point... Two copyrights associated with a song, one that covers the song itself another that covers a particular of the song. E.g. author of a song might hold the copyright on the words and music - person who performed the song might hold a copyright on the actual recording... To perform said song - the performer would need the permission of the holder of the copyright on the song itself. In order to distribute a recording of that song - distributor would need the permission of the holder of the copyright on that recording.

    So it all depends on how Prince laid this out (copyrights). Judging by who he is, he likely is the copyright holder of both which means he pulls weight... However, he is to some degree imposing on the distributor's TERRORTORY so its likely they'd want to fight him and tie some money up knowing damn well they'd lose. In this case, if they took say a 10mill hit from his antics, tying him up in court cases in which the amount of legal fees amount to what they perceived to lose... They'll likely like that anyway. They're nothing more than rich, selfish crybaby bastards anyway
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)
      I have a hunch that Prince owns his own masters, so if he wants to flush them down the toilet, there's not a damn thing a distributor can do. I can't believe that after the rather messy war he had with his old record company that he would sign any kind of truly and infinitely binding exclusivity deals.
  • by ettlz (639203) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:20PM (#19691769) Journal

    "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores."

    Might The Artist Formerly Known as Prince then become, in response, The Artist Formerly Giving A Flying Fuck?

  • by Tmack (593755) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:22PM (#19691817) Homepage Journal
    Anyone that knows Prince and the reason for his name change, knows he changed his name was because of the record labels. He did it in protest of their ability to control him and his music and his name. He wanted to free himself from that control so he could do what he wanted as an artist rather than as the label's shill. He has always been against the record labels after originally signing with one and finding out the hard way what they are all about. He changed his name back after his contract with them ended, but has continued as an independent and always fighting against the labels. This is just another example of his battle, and seems to have already accomplished part of its goal: expose the labels for what they truly are, greedy self-proclaimed overlords of all music.

    Tm

  • Unlawful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:24PM (#19691857)

    Prince should know that with behavior like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.

    Should these guys really be calling attention to the illegal actions an illegal monopoly may be taking in the future?

  • Music is worthless (Score:4, Informative)

    by spyrochaete (707033) <spyrochaete@NOspAm.hyppy.zapto.org> on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:31PM (#19691983) Homepage Journal
    I have very strong feelings on this issue and I'm very impressed with Prince's intentions here.

    The day music started becoming easily traded online was the day music became monetarily worthless. The cat is out of the bag and will never go back in. Whether this is immoral is irrelevant because the morals have been rewritten for the 21st century. The music industry's only hope is to embrace this fact and make their money from "NOT music" - albums with nice art, books, t-shirts, concerts, and other services and widgets that are related to music and cannot be duplicated.

    I highly respect artists like Prince who give their music away for free and allow people to purchase it after the fact. I also highly respect artists like Nine Inch Nails who release their songs and samples under a Creative Commons license to allow fans to remix their works. It's going to happen whether the industry likes it or not, so why not embrace it today and show the world you're a pioneer full of good will?

    If anyone is interested I blogged on this topic [demodulated.com] last week. I spoke primarily about DJ Amber [iamthedj.com] from San Francisco who sells CDs for cheap but also gives the same music away for free in MP3 format. For $10 she sent me a beautiful CD, autographed, within a week of sending her the money via PayPal. I had the pleasure of dealing with the artist personally and all my money went directly to her.

    The internet empowers everyone but those who fight it. RIP music industry.
  • by boyfaceddog (788041) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:34PM (#19692039) Journal
    They spelled my name correctly, right?

    Then its alllllll good.

    Cha - Chiiinnnng!
  • In a word, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:35PM (#19692041)

    Shouldn't an artist be able to give away his own music if he wants to without fear of industry retaliation?

    If you're asking this question, then you don't understand who you are really dealing with.

    The music industry thinks they own ALL music. Not just the RIAA affiliated bands - all music, EVERYWHERE. My proof? SoundExchange. [dailykos.com] They are demanding royalty fees for all music streamed over the net from net radio - and get this - from EVERYONE. Doesn't matter if you're a member or not, they will collect on your behalf in preparation for the glorious day you elect to join the Borg. Until then they're happy to bill people for all music, everywhere.

    The music industry thinks it owns all music. Everywhere. If there was a way to drill a tap into your head and bill you every time you think of a song, they'd do it.

    So yeah, Prince, having the audacity to make a song and give it away clearly goes against everything these morons believe. I wouldn't be surprised to see them ban him completely.

    In response - we, the public - should buy every single thing Prince makes. After he releases it over the net independently. Money straight to the artist with no insane middlemen. This could be where it starts.

  • by nanojath (265940) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:39PM (#19692125) Homepage Journal
    Person interested in Prince as a long term brand strategy: "But come on - customers love to get free stuff!"

    Music Industry: "What the fuck does what customers want have to do with anything?"
  • by Ken Hall (40554) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:50PM (#19692297)
    Many many years ago, the president of the Solo Cup Company (they make paper cups and plates) had a wife who had aspirations as a singer. She wasn't very good, but he tried to jump start her career by including copies of her records in packages of his paper cups. I think I still have some of them. Wouldn't surprise me if they were collector's items now.

    Somewhat fewer years ago, Wordperfect gave away a demo CD with a demo version of Wordperfect 6.0, and the rest of the CD filled with original music.

    Musicians give music away all the time. Did the music industry scream over either of these? No. Then why over this? Because Prince's music sells, and the others really didn't.

    Real musicians see music as an expression of art. They make it for their own purposes, and they'd do it even if they didn't get paid (as long as they can eat). I know plenty of indie bands that are happy to "cover their expenses". The music INDUSTRY, OTOH, sees music as a commodity to be sold, like soap. If someone gives away free soap, then real soap makers sell less, and they lose money.

    This perception is wrong-headed, but everyone is listening to the wrong people, with the wrong point of view. The sooner we give music back to real musicians, the better.
  • George Michael also (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:28PM (#19692903) Homepage Journal

    Pop star George Michael said the same thing [smh.com.au] to BBC radio in 2004, talking about his impending retirement from commercial music.

    "I think it's ("Patience") going to be my last commercial promoted release. I've been very well remunerated for my talents over the years so I really don't need the public's money," he said.

    Now, he added, he would "really like to have something on the internet with charitable donation optional, where anyone can download my music for free".

    "Believe me, in the modern world if you take yourself out of the financial aspect of things, ie. if you're not in anybody's chart, you're not making anybody any money, you're not losing anybody any money, believe me, I'll be of very little interest to the press in a certain number of years."

    Frankly I don't see why not. Once you've got "enough" money why not sell-out entirely to your own creative impulses? It's certainly better then wearily pumping out material you're no longer interested in just because you've become accustomed to life as a hamster on a pop-star wheel.

    I thasnk Mr. Michael, Prince, and every other artist for sharing their talent with us. If their non-commercial expressions discomfort trade cartels and music store chains then so be it, artists have no obligation to support music industry chattel. Perhaps the record stores would like to have parents stop singing non-commercial lullabyes and birds be required to have performance licenses.

  • by DannyO152 (544940) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:32PM (#19692969)

    In 1989 my band made a vinyl record and pressed a 1000 copies. There are 920 or so copies still within our control. I've been giving some thought to setting up a MySpace page and providing free downloads of the band's works and writing and recording some new songs.

    Mr. and Madam Record Company executive, this is your chance and time is running out. Sign me to a record deal now before I give away more of my music. Your industry needs you!!!!

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