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June 29, 2007 6:46 AM   Subscribe

Planet Earth, the new Prince album, to be given away for free as a newspaper insert. Music industry bigwigs splutter, fume.
posted by hermitosis (82 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The comments in that article seem to be one step below threatening to break his legs.

Fun stuff.
posted by Leon at 6:49 AM on June 29, 2007


How to run the music industry:

1) Completely miss the digital music revolution so that CDs stop selling and genuinely independent music makers can have success just by renting a download server.

2) Piss off several of your biggest stars so that they turn against you and want to see you die.
posted by humblepigeon at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2007


A nice gesture, I suppose. Certainly a way for a no-longer-very-relevant artist to get his music out there.

But... giving away a CD in a newspaper? It seems like there ought to be a better way of getting free music to the masses. Some sort of, I dunno, series of tubes or something.
posted by bondcliff at 7:01 AM on June 29, 2007


free music

It ain't free. The listeners just aren't footing the bill.
posted by dobbs at 7:05 AM on June 29, 2007


Here's one of the tracks, "Future Baby Mama."
posted by muckster at 7:07 AM on June 29, 2007


But... giving away a CD in a newspaper? It seems like there ought to be a better way of getting free music to the masses.

It's extremely common here in the UK (where the Prince CD will be distributed) for newspapers to give away CDs and DVDs.

Usually the music is from older bands (UB40 most recently), or compilations of semi-popular tracks themed under headings like "The Ultimate Lovers Collection!". The DVDs are normally old TV shows or movies. Often, to cut pennies off the cost, the TV shows lack theme tunes, to avoid paying royalty fees. The music CDs tend to be live concerts, again meaning lower licensing costs.

Sometimes giving the CD/DVD away means the newspaper doesn't make a profit that day but it's all about a price war and stealing readers from your competitors.

I'm not sure a Prince CD has value to anybody above the age of 40 or so, but a lot of older people buy the CDs for their younger relatives (yes, I've got a million given to me by my mother).
posted by humblepigeon at 7:09 AM on June 29, 2007


The cost to your psyche by buying The Mail On Sunday is far, far too much to pay.
posted by liquidindian at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


Even in 2007, a Sunday paper is probably still more accessible to the masses, um, en masse than is the afore-mentioned series of tubes. Prince's lack of love for the record industry kinda goes back, so something like this is -- while bold -- not exactly uncharacteristic behavior.

For an irrelevant artist, his wildly overpriced shows seem to be pretty popular, and as concerts and merch are the main source of most musicians' big revenue, the giveaway probably will do more good (for him) than harm: I can see why retailers would be seeing red. If enough of the big names do the math and draw the same conclusions...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:10 AM on June 29, 2007


Good for him.
posted by NationalKato at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2007


I'm just surprised the deal's been done with the Mail on Sunday. It's the devil's own newspaper. Much as I'd like to get this album for 'free', I can't bring myself to buy that paper.
posted by MrMustard at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


i luv how Prince fans talk 2 1 n+other.
posted by jonp72 at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


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

Wow.
posted by motty at 7:13 AM on June 29, 2007


If you're going to sell only one copy anyway (to the guy who uploads the torrent), you might as well give it away and look hip.
posted by pracowity at 7:19 AM on June 29, 2007


The plot thickens! Did iTunes Goof Reveal Prince As Secret Live Earth Performer?
posted by muckster at 7:26 AM on June 29, 2007


As per his musical "relevance," I gave up on Prince ten years ago, but these days, seems to me, he's hitting all the right notes again.
posted by kozad at 7:31 AM on June 29, 2007


I'm not sure a Prince CD has value to anybody above the age of 40...

Or under the age of 30.
posted by DU at 7:32 AM on June 29, 2007


An outmoded musician is distributing his music on an outmoded recording medium bundled with an outmoded news-delivery medium.

It's the fifteen-years-too-late trifecta!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:46 AM on June 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Prince, whose Purple Rain sold more than 11m copies, also plans to give away a free copy of his latest album with each ticket sold for his upcoming string of concerts in London.

I think he has been doing this for years.
posted by caddis at 7:49 AM on June 29, 2007


Noting that when the last album was released, that Musicology turd (decent singles, sucky album), Prince fans lined up overnight around the record stores to buy it in my sleepy college town, I'm going to say that threatening to drop him will be at best Phyrric.
posted by klangklangston at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2007


Promotions like this have existed forever.

I'm completely a member of the music-industry-is-dead club, but I'm more interested in acts like Clap Your Hands becoming extremely popular with no help from record labels than I am in Prince attempting to get his name back into newspapers.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:01 AM on June 29, 2007


Wow... He's royally pissed off the mass-market music biz. (Cue the old cartoon image of a bundle of cash with wings on it flying out the window.)

He must be doing something right.
posted by Mike D at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2007


How quickly we forget.
posted by tellurian at 8:08 AM on June 29, 2007


He's also giving away the new single, Guitar. Well, an MP3 of it, anyway, and only for a week. (It's not vintage Prince, but it's okay - vaguely reminiscent of Girls & Boys.)

I'm just surprised the deal's been done with the Mail on Sunday. It's the devil's own newspaper. Much as I'd like to get this album for 'free', I can't bring myself to buy that paper.

To my horror, my inner Prince fan seems to have won the battle with my inner right thinking person who would rather gouge out his eyes than buy a Mail title.

For an irrelevant artist, his wildly overpriced shows seem to be pretty popular

Quite. But I'm failing to see how anyone can think £31.21 with a free album thrown in is overpriced, really, especially given what some other artists playing the o2 are asking.

I think he has been doing this for years.

In the UK at least, this is the first time he's ever done it.
posted by jack_mo at 8:08 AM on June 29, 2007


when the last album was released, that Musicology turd (decent singles, sucky album)

Prince is a good argument against artists having complete control of their music -- if there was someone to tell Prince to keep all his albums under fifty minutes, he wouldn't have to struggle to get people's attention. It was his insistance of releasing triple albums with five good songs that turned away all but the hardcore fans.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:10 AM on June 29, 2007


I wonder how many royalists will buy the paper and be disappointed?
posted by srboisvert at 8:11 AM on June 29, 2007


Noting that when the last album was released, that Musicology turd (decent singles, sucky album)

His last album was 3121. Though it also had folk queuing up, despite suffering decent singles, sucky album syndrome, like everything since Lovesexy.
posted by jack_mo at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2007


It's almost as if no-one likes middlemen.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on June 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've seen Prince live twice. Once in 1985, my parents took me to see the Purple Rain tour. I was 10. For some reason, they thought that was okay, but they wouldn't take me with them to see the Jacksons the same year. My mom kept covering up my eyes during the show. Like when he came out naked in a bathtub to start the show, and when sheila E was simulating oral sex on stage. (something like that anyway.. I was 10, my memory is kind of iffy on the whole thing).

Saw him again last year at a relatively small venue and he was still incredible. I think he's still relevant.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on June 29, 2007


It was his insistance of releasing triple albums with five good songs that turned away all but the hardcore fans.

He only did that twice, and it was the hardcore fans who were most pissed off about it (on the grounds that Crystal Ball is a total pile of moist reeking shite, and they, um, we all got ripped off by the pre-ordering scam).

The only double albums not counting compilations are 1999 and Sign O' The Times, which are, you know, widely though to be pretty decent.
posted by jack_mo at 8:24 AM on June 29, 2007


Y y'all B hatin' on Prince? He would die 4 U.
posted by jonp72 at 8:24 AM on June 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey, that single ain't too bad. Maybe a little overproduced, but typical for Prince.
posted by fusinski at 8:34 AM on June 29, 2007


tellurian - fuck yes! That performance ruled. But that link is ultimately broken, as the video's been taken down from YouTube. So .. Dailymotion to the Rescue!

Prince kicks ass. And I'm all for any maneuver that upsets record executives so much. Now, if only the Mail made it to the Great Northwest here in the colonies.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:37 AM on June 29, 2007


Quite. But I'm failing to see how anyone can think £31.21 with a free album thrown in is overpriced, really, especially given what some other artists playing the o2 are asking.

Well, now, I dunno what that means in 'Merican money, but...really, I was just referring to the generally high cost of concerts anymore, not singling out Prince in particular.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2007


It's about $60, but the exchange rate is miserable these days.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2007


It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music

No, it's an example of an artist held in high esteem by his fans in spite of his label's profiteering.

We're seeing the first wave of high-profile artists who are fed up with this line and bringing their music -- and getting their profits -- directly from their fans. Paul McCartney is doing the same thing by dropping EMI and selling his latest album through iTunes and Starbucks. Labels will be left with talentless packages like Britney Spears to peddle if this continues.

Prince is at the top of his game. His live performances are mindblowing and his fans legion. He may not be cranking out songs for the top 40, but he's the real thing and he can pull this scheme off.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2007


Irrelevant Artist!?
posted by Jeff_Larson at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2007


Oh, sorry.....
posted by Jeff_Larson at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2007


jack-mo --

Good points all (especially about him being capable of releasing good double albums).
posted by Bookhouse at 8:53 AM on June 29, 2007


What does 'relevant' mean when applied to music? Isn't denying the 'relevance' of music just an unpleasant and indirect way of saying 'I don't like this and nor will anyone else, at least no-one whose opinion matters'.

Surely it's a word that only applies in the old-model music industry where a very few people got to decide what would and wouldn't be allowed. And we all know how relevant those people's ideas are now. The subject of this whole post is a great example of that.
posted by motty at 8:58 AM on June 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


I took a cheap shot at Prince earlier, and I apologize to him and his fans. He really is a very talented musician, and more power to him as he pisses off the recording industry.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:00 AM on June 29, 2007


What does 'relevant' mean when applied to music?

In this case, if I may be so bold, I'm detecting the distinct strains of ageism. It's fairly common amongst fans of popular music until they hit the creaky old age of about 26. Best not taken very seriously.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:03 AM on June 29, 2007


I gave up on Prince during his "My name is Prince and I am funky" stage, until I realized that he must have just been creating as much crap as he could in order to get through his contract with WB.
posted by autodidact at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2007


Don't forget he did the best Superbowl halftime show we've seen in a long time. How could you not get goosebumps when he does Purple Rain in the actual rain?
posted by autodidact at 9:09 AM on June 29, 2007


motty - word. I'd also submit that a lot of the "relevance" hate that older artists suffer is a symptom of the microscopic modern attention span. I think hearing the music of someone with a couple decades worth of experience with their instrument is plenty interesting and relevant.

But then, I'm approaching thirty, so I reckon my own age of irrelevance is bearing down. I just hope those darn kids have fun with the new-fangled music. And stay off my lawn.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:13 AM on June 29, 2007


"Quite. But I'm failing to see how anyone can think £31.21 with a free album thrown in is overpriced, really, especially given what some other artists playing the o2 are asking."

His recent American shows were $3121 for seats or $312.10 for standing room. Goddamned right I'd want a free album. And a backrub from Diamond or Pearl or Jade or whatever one he's got with him.

Prince is also a good reason to keep religion away from artists. And why hasn't there been a good greatest comp from him yet? Even those suffer from the same hit and miss as everything else he's done in decades.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 AM on June 29, 2007


Eye, Four+1, welcome r new CD-giveaway ov-R-lords
posted by jonp72 at 9:18 AM on June 29, 2007


I'm not a Prince fan but have to concede that the two most stunning live TV performances I've seen were Prince at the Super Bowl and Prince on SNL*. Those two venues are typically completely impossible to carry off (at least to the at-home audience), and Prince rocked the house on both occasions.

* honarable mention to Beck on SNL last year. That was purty sweet too...
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:19 AM on June 29, 2007


I don't see why everyone is calling Prince irrelevant. 3121 sold a good amount of copies for an artist of his age, his tours have been killing, and he blew the roof off of the last Super Bowl.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2007


" But I'm failing to see how anyone can think £31.21 with a free album thrown in is overpriced..."

Lucky you. I tried to price tickets to see this guy not terribly long ago -- a gift for a girl, you see -- but a pair of the sold-out show's tickets were more expensive than a car, roughly on the order of a fistful of (admittedly modest) diamond rings.

"Overpriced" doesn't even begin to describe it.
posted by majick at 9:40 AM on June 29, 2007


Great googly moogly. Three thousand DOLLARS?! Okay, I take it back -- I AM singling Prince out NOW! Ye gods!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:43 AM on June 29, 2007


Um, just LAST YEAR MeFites were nearly collectively tripping over each other to sing angelic praises over the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.

Make up your snarks already you fickle, flaky jackals.
posted by dgaicun at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2007


Autodidact et al nail it. I've never been a huge Prince fan, but watching him step out on that stupid ass superbowl stage in the fucking RAIN and proceed to just blow everyone out taught me a lot about what a real performer can do.

So: go Prince go! That guy may be preserved from aging by Nameless Acts of Foul Magic, but he has been busting shit out in every cultural sense for a long ass time.

Similar story about real performers from the one Lollapalooza I went to: Smashing Pumpkins whining about how "commercial" and "lame" it all was, and poncing about with their superior little pouts...then the Beastie Boys and George Clinton step up on stage, and made it perfectly clear that no matter if it *was* commercial and lame, they were going to act like grownups and make everyone there have a great fucking time. Folks like they and Prince are probably the closest we have to real prophets and shamans, in the sense of creating that shared cathartic experience.
posted by freebird at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2007


deedle-eedle-deedle-eedle-deet: KISS!
posted by freebird at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


freebird writes "what a real performer can do"

Uh it's nice to see divergence of opinions , as I wasn't impressed much at all. Spectacular ? No doubt, that big ass symbol of him surely is an out of ordinary stage. His performance ? I don't think that was his best or a performance _at all_. Fireworks ? Fine they are part of the scene, but do they add to his presence ? I'd rather praise the ones who put up the scene and the idea of see-truth shde.

I can't help not thinking it's trash, pure inadulterated and that Prince did a lot better, it was a bottom low in his career. But hey.. mass showbiz is first and foremost about mass attention to lower average cost of eyeball.

Yet who cares anyway...free cd ? Sounds fine.
posted by elpapacito at 10:17 AM on June 29, 2007


Autodidact et al nail it. I've never been a huge Prince GWAR fan, but watching them step out on that stupid ass superbowl stage...

If only I lived in a world where this version of events were true, I'd watch football.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:21 AM on June 29, 2007


I don't think that was his best or a performance _at all_.

Not what I'm saying at all - I'm sure he's done better. My point was that I've never seen a superbowl performance that was that close to being an actual, enjoyable live music event. Despite, not because of, all the silly fireworks and goofiness. I'm not saying it was him at *his* best, but rather that he was the best I've seen do that stupid halftime show. I
posted by freebird at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2007


His recent American shows were $3121 for seats or $312.10 for standing room

*blinks*

Wait, that wasn't a typo?

I mean, Prince is awesome and all, but three grand? I bought a car last week for less money than that.
posted by quin at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2007


Well it probably had holes in the seat too then.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a prince!
posted by dhartung at 11:05 AM on June 29, 2007


I'm not sure a Prince CD has value to anybody above the age of 40 or so,

[curmudgeon]You know, the generation gap model used to be a genuine cultural reality back in about 1970 or so, but not so much any more. Prince is himself in his late forties, so is his original audience, and the generation that grew up with rock music as a given (and not, as for the generation before us, as social revolution) are still listening to the music made by our peers. Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, Pixies, you know the stuff; lots of forty and fifty-somethings still come to their shows. At this point it would be more accurate (though still not entirely true) to say that a pop CD wouldn't have relevance to anybody over, say, 70. [/curmudgeon]
posted by jokeefe at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2007


This thread from a few days ago might be of interest, especially Miko's comments about how the change we might really be seeing is that recorded music is no longer a commodity.

I'd be willing to bet that this is as much a savvy business move as anything else--profit margins for the artists personally are of course much higher for shows and merchandise than album sales. Giving away his new CD is certainly a giant, giant commercial for his concerts.

It's just a flip, really: artists used to make an album and then tour to support and promote it. Now, maybe they'll be making albums to support and promote their live performances.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:39 AM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Suck it haters. I'm going to the show tonight. I'll let you know later if he's still 'relevent.'

/gloat
posted by Space Kitty at 12:14 PM on June 29, 2007


An outmoded musician ...

You already qualified that, so I'll save my venom, and somebody else mentioned 3121 (the latest album)...

I saw Prince at the Webby's last year, and his 4-word speech was "cut out the middleman."

I like to see him change the record industry, but I'm not sure he's cutting out the middleman here ...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on June 29, 2007


Relevance is a tricky beast. Prince may not command the same sales numbers that he did back in the Purple Rain days, but he's an artist that other artists pay attention to. Think of how many current hip artists and producers learned, metaphorically, at Prince's feet. While this stunt may not make any difference to the majority of consumers, don't underestimate what this is going to do to the people who work in the industry, from the CEOs to the producers to the artists to the recording engineers.

There's a lot of artists who have influence within the music industry who are leaning heavily in this direction. Trent Reznor (say what you want, he's got influence beyond merely selling CDs) threatened to do pretty much the same thing. We'll be seeing a lot more of this as anti-recording industry sentiment trickles down from the taste-makers to the up-and-comers.
posted by lekvar at 12:36 PM on June 29, 2007


He may be "irrelevant" to the pop music industry scene, but he's not irrelevant to a few million fans. Loyal fans. Fans who will stick with him as long as he makes music they think is worth listening to.

As far as I'm concerned, he's doing great things for the music biz - not the current one, but the music biz that's already replacing the current one.

Good. Keep going, Prince buddy!

The more success he has, and that people who drop their labels and go straight to iTunes have, the more will dump their record labels when their contracts run out and do the same thing. Let's see how long the Big... Three now? stay solvent after all their "big name" artists leave and they're stuck with only back catalog to sell.

There will always be some kind of middleman, always. You can't operate a worldwide media enterprise without some middlemen. Prince can't run a CD press and personally drive the trucks to deliver them to the Daily Mail, or handle day-to-day business management tasks, tour planning, etc. He's gonna have people, middlemen, handling that for him.

What will be different is that parasitic, non-functional middlemen will be cut out, leaving only middlemen who actually do something and get paid for it.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:46 PM on June 29, 2007


Prince rules. Suck it haters!
posted by Dantien at 12:53 PM on June 29, 2007


Somebody up-thread mentioned that many, if not most, musicians make most of their cash on touring.

I agree this is a good thing, and plays into our notion of work hard become successful etc., but this is also because any musician dealing with a major label is (usually without her knowing, which I admit is her fault, kinda) basically going into major debt with the slim hope of selling a million units just to break even, then doing that second album with the same leeches taking their cuts every step of the way.

If someone wants to make music in her basement and distribute it without touring all that much, it's entirely possible. Just don't sign with a major.

As for Prince, criticizing him for having an "uneven" recording career is pretty sad. Sure, he recorded some clunkers, but he's Prince, he's much cooler than you, and he's one of the greatest live performers of all time.
posted by bardic at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2007


The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores,' says retailers association

Isn't this true about all recording artists?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:34 PM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Prince is a good argument against artists having complete control of their music.
posted by Bookhouse

I can't even believe you wrote that. Not that Prince is it, but that the argument should be made that artists shouldn't have complete control of their music. Who do you propose to share it with? corporations?
posted by micayetoca at 3:22 PM on June 29, 2007


I don't recall ever having gone gaga over Prince in MeFi or anywhere. I begrudgingly admit that he has been and IS a VERY relevant artist - perhaps one of the first corporately owned artists to ever truly grok what was happening to him and others in his profession.

It had essentially been the case since the days when Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan were where America looked to hear the Next Big Thing. A struggling group of musicians with stars in their eyes would be offered a recording contract and they'd sign in blood if it was asked of them, without reading the fine print most of the time. Prince was not the first to fall for the corporate tricks. He wasn't even the first to rebel. He was however, the first to take it to the extremes he did, and that set a chain reaction in the industry, whose repercussions are still being felt today.

Hence his reasons for the weird symbol and no longer being "Prince" until that contract legally timed out. He did what he had to do for his music. His identity was taken from him. Point of fact, legally he SOLD his identity to Warner Communications, but it wasn't until months or years after he agreed to that, that it was made plain to him just what that would mean in practice.

Many in this thread have mentioned the time when he performed in the rain, when lesser artists could have cancelled. He could have cancelled and no one would have thought lesser of him. You can say all kindsa things about Prince, but you gotta respect a man who loves what he does as much as he does. He is quite the artist, quite the showman, quite the performer, and that is what makes him relevant.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:51 PM on June 29, 2007


...Let me put it this way. Prior to Prince's tantrum, few if any were questioning the authority of the big name music companies. They were topheavy behemoths who dictated what passed for popular rock and the masses lapped it up like mama's milk.

Prince's argument with Warner reached its apex in 1994. Napster showed up in 1999 and Gnutella became popular soon after that. Peer To Peer networking had actually been in existence in one form or another since before the 1970s.

After his tantrum? Things changed. Now, whether or not Prince was responsible indirectly for Napster?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2007


Suck it haters. I'm going to the show tonight. I'll let you know later if he's still 'relevent.'

Yes, I'm jealous. Enjoy the show, I am sure it will be fantastic.
posted by caddis at 6:09 PM on June 29, 2007


A comment in Slashdot notes the people protesting are the equivalent of a store-owner's association, pissed because they happen to be stores that sell CDs. Nothing to do with RIAA.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:15 PM on June 29, 2007


I'm jealous too, Space Kitty.
posted by Wolof at 8:03 PM on June 29, 2007


In response to anyone calling Prince crazy for doing this, or saying this is madness, there is yet another way of looking at this:

1) He already has more money than he cares to know what to do with.

2) He's been making that money moreso with concerts over the years than with record sales.

3) He still wants to make the record industry suffer for taking away his name for six years.

4) Bill Gates ruined Netscape by making MSIE free, and more readily available to the masses. (Mozilla/Firefox is the rebound, but Netscape as a brandname is effectively dead).

5) Columbia House, BMG Music Services, and other companies, have been known to give away Prince albums along with many others for just a penny (with the agreement of buying other albums over a period of time at much higher prices). Colombia Records and Sony BMG are the same companies he's currently got deals with that this giveaway is directly affecting. So he's effectively giving them a taste of their own medicine.

6) His last few albums haven't reached as much of the mainstream audience, though they have been embraced by his devout diehard community of fans. Not wanting to wake up twenty years from now to discover he's become Jerry Garcia, he needs to reach a wider audience.

7) He knew ahead of time this would stir up controversy, and Prince has always loved stirring up controversy - he likes being the center of attention.

Given the above variables, Prince would be insane NOT to do this!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:46 PM on June 29, 2007


I.

FLIRTED.

WITH.

PRINCE.

*faints*


I'm terribly sorry. I'm telling *everyone*
posted by Space Kitty at 4:33 AM on June 30, 2007


Music industry expert and/or critic Bob Lefsetz has this to say about the quickly-dying old-school music industry.
posted by centerpunch at 7:27 AM on June 30, 2007


fwiw, here's the undertaker:
Prince originally intended to give this live CD away free with 1,000 copies of Guitar Player Magazine in 1994, but was reportedly barred by Warner Bros. from doing so. Copies were leaked and bootlegged. The songs were guitar heavy versions of rock and blues numbers...
it rocks :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 11:02 AM on June 30, 2007


"Well, music shouldn’t be free, people should pay for it."

Y'know what I would pay for? A recording of a performance that I attended, here in my community. Not just any performance, but the ones which stand out as momentous for me, that I'd like to experience again and again cuz I had a good time.

I have for a very long time wished that local clubs recorded the bands that performed and offered that performance on CD - even GAVE a copy to the band!

However, they can't. Why? Copyright infringement laws, and the fact they'd open themselves up to potentially endless lawsuits. I don't know the details, but you'd have bands who would refuse to do that venue unless they cut a certain deal that'd be better than their perceived competition, and then everyone would want the better deal: it'd just be a mess.

Some clubs have tried that. Club Dada used to offer recordings to bands, but I don't think they do anymore. They have the necessary equipment and it always sounds great there. I have an album of a now defunct band called Chattervox which was recorded there. Still one of my favorite albums ever. Then there's the potential legal problems with Dada's regular cover band Hard Night's Day. I'd love to have an album's worth of their stuff, but i doubt they could legally distribute. You might think "well they do covers of Beatles stuff. Just listen to The Beatles" but the few times I've had the pleasure of catching these guys live? It's more than just hearing people copying The Beatles. These guys bring something special to the proverbial table.

Come to think of it, maybe just getting a recording of these guys playing Beatles music would be so-so. It's seeing them live that makes the music come alive. ...Huh.

The truth is - it's performances which will continue to be of value. Current audio technologies are making recordings of music cheaper than pennies, but studio work will still get heard and reputations will still form.

Catching an artist on stage in the flesh will continue to be the draw and that's where the money is, because that's something that can't be fully captured. ...at least not yet!
posted by ZachsMind at 3:51 PM on June 30, 2007


We're going back to the age-old model of minstrels and bards.

Which, y'know, seems like a good thing to me. Support Local!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:15 PM on June 30, 2007


"Current audio technologies are making recordings of music cheaper than pennies, but studio work will still get heard and reputations will still form."

This is true. One can now build an excellent music studio in their home for only a few thousand dollars, even less if they're doing all-digital music. I think my home studio, even if you include all the guitars (which would be silly, since the newest one of them I bought 15 years ago) and the e-drums, cost maybe $10,000 - I got the studio Mac as a work barter. A person with talent and a good ear can use equipment like mine and record music that is practically indistinguishable from tracks recorded in multi-million dollar studios. It's the ear and the talent that's the key.

Listen to Imogen Heap's latest album. She recorded most of that at home by herself with ProTools, then took it to a top-end studio to mix it. Okay, so it's a bit more sophisticated than what most home recorders can do, but it's not outside the realm of that given a good acoustic space and a talented mixing ears.

I can't say that "anyone" can make a major-competitive recording at home, but anyone with talent and a great ear sure can.

Electronica artists probably have the best chance of making top-notch music at home.

A guy like Prince using my gear could make utter brilliance.
posted by zoogleplex at 9:43 PM on June 30, 2007


Michelle Shocked's "Texas Campfire Tapes" are better than anything else she came out with since. That was literally her sitting at a campfire playing a guitar with somebody else's tape recorder nearby. If you listen closely you can hear the forest. It's a great album, and she didn't need a multi-thousand dollar studio.

Some of Phil Collins' solo efforts after leaving Genesis were recorded in his loft upstairs at his house. He poured more money into it than some people's mortgages. The end result was a number of albums consisting of cold antiseptic congealed refuse passing for pop rock artistry.

So many artists make the mistake of over producing their studio albums, to the point where they can't possibly sound live how they present themselves on their CD. So fans hear their studio work and work themselves up into a shark-blood frenzy prior to seeing their favorite talent in person, then the live show fails to capture the audience's expectations.

I sense there will be more 'live' recordings in the years ahead, or more studio recordings that endeavour to capture a live feel.

Oingo Boingo was doing this inadvertently many years ago. Their early studio works when compared to their later retreads of some of the same songs have very subtle differences but the later live works make all the difference. THEN if you can get your hands on a rare fan-captured live performance where they snuck in a tape recorder? Those are primo man. Raw Hardcore Boingo.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:13 PM on July 1, 2007


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