July 1, 2007

The Very Model Of A Modern Label Executive...

by Chris Randall

This article piqued my interest for a second. Normally I could give two fucks about what music retailers (the second most annoying group of people in the music industry) and major labels think, and I tend to avoid this entire subject like the monkey pox it is, but it's funny to watch the snake eat its own tail on occasion. Here is a prime example: Sony/BMG UK pulled out of its distribution deal with Prince (I assume he's on the P&D plan) because he sold a British newspaper the rights to put his new album in its Sunday edition.

It's worth noting that Prince is one of the few artists to receive a Diamond album award from the RIAA, which is 10 million copies sold, for Purple Rain, which is currently the 30th best selling album of all time. (It was, for a brief period, the best selling album of all time, but that honor now belongs to The Eagles Greatest Hits, so just shoot me in the fucking head right now.) So this absolutely phenomenal artist, easily one of the best musicians of, like, ever, and certainly of my generation, has to put up with pithy little bullshit comments like the following:

"The artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the artist formerly available in record stores."

This from Paul Quirk, the appropriately named spokesmodel for the Entertainment Retailers Association of Britian. Well, Paul, I'm glad you got that off your chest; I may not know much about your end of the industry (well, I lie; I know quite a bit, but it doesn't have the same dramatic effect) but I'll say this much: when people don't remember what it means to actually go to a store and purchase an album any more, they'll still know who Prince was, and your big claim to fame will be that you'll forever look like a whiny pissant if anyone does a Lexus/Nexus search on your name, which they probably will never do.

Thanks to Shawn for the heads-up...



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Jul.02.2007 @ 2:45 PM
D' MacKinnon
Prince has the sales and clout to get away with it, if Sony BMG doesn't want to deal with him I'm sure someone else will. He just played the Superbowl for fucks sake.


Jul.02.2007 @ 3:36 PM
The Universal/iTunes news seems like a bigger issue. I'm embarrassed to say how much I've spent on the iTunes store. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and iTunes Plus promises to fix those. $9.99 is just the perfect price for an album.

As far as Prince goes, would anyone have noticed he had a new album out if he hadn't have done this? His stuff hasn't been interesting since parachute pants were cool.


Jul.02.2007 @ 3:53 PM
eh, his last two albums have some strong tracks.

Jul.02.2007 @ 4:00 PM
I'd love to know how the reasoning went in the Prince camp before taking this decision.
If Prince's new CD is let's say ?7 ppd and then lets wildly guess that the SonyBMG deal is costing him 50/50 so that's 3.5 x 2.3 mill = 8050000.
Now I don't think (tho they probably could) the Mail on Sunday paid him that kind of money I'm more thinking ?500K ...if that...
So the thinking must've been. We're not gonna sell anywhere near those figures in retail so we might as well do this and create PR and buzz for the millenium dome concerts and hopefully collect some cash from online sales.
My numbers are probably completely wrong but it is food for thought if major acts like Prince stops relying on High st retail to push units.
For better or for worse I think the CD mega store is soon a fading memory.

Jul.02.2007 @ 5:28 PM

I didn't think that Prince had anything going for him when the Musicology tour came around a few years ago (with a similar CD-stunt; the CDs were given away with entrance to the show), but that didn't stop people from filling up the Oakland Colosseum.


Jul.02.2007 @ 6:51 PM
D' MacKinnon
I think he did it more so he could say "Look, I sold 2 million+ records". 3121 sold decently (500k+) but not 2.3 million.

I thought his last two were the best he's done since leaving WB.


Jul.02.2007 @ 9:30 PM
What Chris said, in spades. It's a little known fact that in the northern english dialects "Quirk" is a euphemism for TWAT!....and even if this is not true it should be.

Jul.03.2007 @ 8:56 AM
Any bets as to how long before he's "formerly known as the spokesmodel for the Entertainment Retailers Association of Britian"?

Jul.03.2007 @ 9:52 AM
ah fuck'em - slug fuckers, the lot of 'em... they aint fit to clean the spittle of his purple shoes anywayz

Jul.03.2007 @ 12:23 PM
"What Chris said, in spades. It's a little known fact that in the northern english dialects "Quirk" is a euphemism for TWAT!....and even if this is not true it should be."

Proof positive that your name is your destiny (or your damnation)


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