Say what? Prince is releasing free copies of his CD in the Sunday Mail? Fans love this kind of stuff. People in general love *free* stuff. It's free *Prince*. Drop "shipping" your CD to thousands of people at no cost to them and they just might give a listen. They might fall in love with the music (and even purchase tickets to a fall tour as a result ;).
The ERA's co-chairman Paul Quirk made a comment to the press about the paper/CD release:
"The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores," he said.
"It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career. It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music," Quirk told a music conference in London.
I'm with indiemusician.com, whose music is this again? Prince's music not in record stores? Cold day in hell anyone?
I've said it before, the fans are what make the music successful. This inspires confidence that Prince cares about his fans. Inspiring that confidence is gold. If he/they can do that and bypass the machines of the RIAA and the ERA? Brilliant.
Inspiring fans creates publicity, publicity creates curiosity, curiosity creates new fans. If there's anything that we've learned from the iPhone hype it should be that the right publicity can inspire joy in a product. Inspire the kind of joy that makes someone sleep with their newly purchased iPhone in hand....that's marketing genius. Tap into that publicity for a CD release? Hello success.
Both associations and record labels need to put aside their old way of doing things and embrace new media and fast. Unless they innovate themselves instead of wasting time getting angry, they will soon find themselves obsolete.
P.S. Thank you Prince for standing up and making some noise.