It’s time to pack your bags people, the internet’s over. Yes, that’s right, according to Prince. In some ways it’s probably one of the most refreshing things that’s been said of late.
The whole argument of whether the future of music is in X or Y digital model, whilst having substantial import, has become tiresome.
Whether Prince is right or wrong, one must acquiesce in the fact that his ability to operate from without the conceptual box, free from the constraints of industry dogmatism and at times, perhaps reason, is what has kept his career alive.
As if asserting that the internet is nothing more than a bit of a fad wasn’t enough, the artist’s forthcoming album is, once more, to find its way into the hands of music fans via the morning paper. According to Music Week: “ More than 2.5 million copies of 20Ten were given away with the Daily Mirror and Daily Record on Saturday July 10”
There are differing views as to the effectiveness of an exclusively covermount-based release. Paul Quirk, chairman of the ERA suggests such a move could, “kill his CD sales career stone dead.” But does that matter?
The release of Planet Earth via covermount helped Prince to generate significant sales for his O2 residency, deferring the losses resulting from the giveaway. One could argue that either way, an artist of his calibre would be expected to fare well in the live arena; non-traditional release methodologies notwithstanding.
Giving away your art for free can be a great way to secure mass (though shallow) interest in your work, but unless this is followed up with something a bit special/deluxe, something worth cherishing, one may fear Prince’s covermount release could end up as a fancy coaster.
To be honest, Prince’s decision deserves great respect. I’d rather see an artist try something new and fail, then replicate the actions and thought processes of the herd. It’s what the industry needs.
The inherent originality of Prince’s business approach reflects his artistic nature, and on that basis one can’t class his actions as being right or wrong. They are one man’s unique approach to a shared challenge.
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