Prince is reportedly in talks to bundle free copies of his upcoming album, Planet Earth, with an upcoming Sunday edition of the British newspaper Daily Mail, and those rumors are making record store owners in the UK hopping mad:
Music industry insiders say the newspaper is in talks with the pop star to issue his latest album as a free covermount.
The plan follows the Mail on Sunday’s giveaway of Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells, which sparked a row with the musician over the effect on sales. Oldfield attacked music company EMI for agreeing to give away Tubular Bells in the paper, but the Mail on Sunday responded by saying it actually lifted the album’s sales in the shops.
The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) made no secret today of its anger over the Prince plans, saying the rumour of a giveaway “beggars belief”.
“It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career,” ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. “It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.”
“If it turns out to be the case – and we’re still trying to get to the bottom of it – The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour 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.”
According to the Guardian report, the UK arm Sony BMG–which recently struck a deal with Prince to release the album in the U.S.–is somewhat freaked out by this news; Prince is also reportedly giving away free copies of his new album with tickets to his upcoming 21-night concert run in London, and none of these gimmicks will, presumably, help the company’s bottom line much. But we’re guessing that Prince doesn’t really care much; after all, he’s never been a fan of the major-label machinations (case in point: his own Web site is currently streaming a radio-ripped version of a new song from Planet Earth).
Prince giveaway an ‘insult’ to record shops [Guardian, reg. req.]