Why I Have Finally Become A Prince Fan

     I have to come clean here:  I really liked Prince before ‘1999’.  I even kinda liked ‘1999’ the first three weeks after its 1982 release.  But then I got sick of hearing it, and it wouldn’t go away.  In Detroit, thanks to incessant spins by The Electrifying Mojo, ‘1999’ became one of the most played records in town.  You couldn’t get away from it.  In fact, it didn’t go away until the 1983 release of ‘Purple Rain’, which STILL hasn’t gone away (and I still cannot stand it).  After such overexposure, I don’t see how I can be blamed for developing an intense dislike for all things Prince, which lasted throughout the eighties.  Apart from some isolated deep LP cuts and b-sides (’17 Days’, ‘New Position’, ‘Partyman’, and ‘Erotic City’ which is all the more ironic since it’s the b-side of the particularly overplayed ‘Let’s Go Crazy’), I avoided anything the man did because I just couldn’t bear to hear any more.  After 1990’s ‘Graffiti Bridge’, he fell off my radar.  I didn’t know what he was up to, and I couldn’t possibly have cared less.

(Okay, there was the incident in 1990 when, after working for weeks to come up with a track for a house 12″, and I’d finally got something I was proud of, Prince released the ‘Gett Off’ 12″ which sounded EXACTLY like the track I’d recorded a few months earlier, and was shopping around.  I was convinced that either a) he was eavesdropping on the studio I’d been at, or b) he just plain stole my track.  I swore to kill him, then the Gories went on tour, and I forgot about it.)

In 1998, Prince jandered onto my radar again: in an article about the internet’s effect on the record industry (yes, kids, the writing was on the wall even then),  it was noted that Prince’s then new LP ‘Crystal Ball’ had been released for purchase only at his website.  While that’s nothing new now, in 1998 almost no-one had done it.  What made it TRULY amazing is that even with this sole source of distribution, ‘Crystal Ball’ had charted at #64 in Billboard Magazine.  Even I, by this time internationally known as a disliker of all things Prince, had to admit I was impressed.  It was a new day, and Prince understood this.  After having been jerked around by Warner Bros. Records, he took his music directly to the people.  For someone at his level of fame, it doesn’t actually get much cooler.

In recent years, I’ve mellowed on my issues with Prince.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything by him, and I still like the first three LPs.  I’m even actively trying to find a UK 12″ of ‘Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)’ with the red-and-black striped cardstock cover, and a peach-vinyl copy of The Black Album.  I’m basically over it, yeah? I still haven’t really paid any attention to his new releases, though.

All of the foregoing is prolegomena to mentioning this article in The Guardian about the release of Prince’s new album (I have to stop using ‘LP’ at this point because as far as I know there won’t be an LP release) ‘Planet Earth’.  It will be released free with the 24 July edition of The Mail On Sunday, in England.

That is totally rad.

Prince, having internalised the new paradigm of the music business, wherein distribution is in the eye of the beholder (see ref. previous post), has made a deal which gets him a lot of listeners, since The Mail On Sunday averages about 2 MILLION copies (this also guarantees him a Double Diamond-selling album from The British version of the RIAA, AAAANNND the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Records Sold On First Day Of Release’.  Now That’s what I call thinkin’.  Buy that man a see-gar).  However, this isn’t setting too well with the British Entertainment Retailers Association,  who are having walruses at the thought that someone could sell a record without them.  Well guys, someone could.  Prince could.  Prince doesn’t need you.  Prince can sell records wherever he wants.

The very fact that these people are angry insures that I, as a fellow recording artist, will purchase a copy of this record.  (If possible, I will try to get a friend in England to get me a copy from The Mail On Sunday, thereby helping Prince do his thing without any interference from another dinosaur who didn’t see the meteor coming.)  This isn’t actually about Prince; it’s more about people who think they can control how the music-buying public buys its music.  The days of control over music distribution channels are OVER.  The control of distribution has shifted to the artist, and while there will be a lot of record industry people who will get crushed under the wheels of change, almost none of them will be musicians.

Now get out and go see a band.

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3 Responses to “Why I Have Finally Become A Prince Fan”

  1. Hello, nice post. Bookmark it.

  2. I wish I could be a prince but can you tell me how to become a Prince.

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