Slave Trade - Prince DocumentaryMay 31, 2021
Reports began to surface in the mid-'90s that the prints of one of the world's most successful recording artists had fallen into a serious dispute with his record label, alleging that his art had been held hostage by ruthless corporate interests. The
princeannounced that he was at war over music. business and that the entire industry needed to be demolished and reorganized. I think like most artists, they don't really investigate until that happens and I think that's more or less what Prince found himself doing: taking a closer look at how this works. Prince is astute and likes to read and share ideas so the more he got into the music business literature the more upset he got you know and how it's designed I mean it's systemic that's what it does if you exploit an artist and get paid a mere pittance compared to what you make Initially interpreted by the public as an obscure contractual disagreement, the dispute turned out to be the down payment l in rebuilding the music business at the turn of the millennium, Fueled by his struggle with Warner Brothers, Prince set out to articulate new concepts in the creation and sale of music at a time when the digital age threatened to bring the existing order to its knees in the 1980s.
Prince revolutionized music, reinvented the Minneapolis sound and brought a whole new style of music and how much black and white rock and funk fusion music and all in one big thing that was just Prince, who took the road. music sounded on a whole new level in the 90s when his music was less revolutionary, he revolutionized the business and he revolutionized the music industry and time and time again what he does he has vision and foresight and he's ahead of his time and it turns out that not only could he did it musically, he did it with business too, but he won't get the credit for that at the time the importance of the
princes message was overlooked, his behavior was reckoned as surreal and eccentric by a world Having yet to discern the forces of change building on the horizon, routinely dismissed as a pampered clown sideshow, Prince's profile suffered badly and his new job was increasingly ignored, but when change came it became clear that Prince had been a visionary and found himself restored to prominence as a leading figure in the modern art and music landscape.
He just wasn't in sync at the time. His time had passed and he had to wait for him to come back. he inevitably did by the time he came back, it's like now he's comfortable being a legend playing the music he makes, not trying to be a hip-hop artist or this or that, and just accepting who he is and what his gifts and stuff. the audience was there for him to the point where he tours more successfully today than he did in his heyday, so without even selling any records, he sells more tickets than he did with Purple Rain. t in the faith, even putting out a record independently and doing things like selling through the newspaper, so it's gotten a lot of criticism from those in power, they don't appreciate that because it stimulates the minds of people who are arising. and you see even the younger generation now it's just academic now this is what they do so yeah it has helped it and whether it gets all the credit now or twenty or fifty or a hundred years from now it will go down in history As one who did something that was revolutionary in the summer of 1992, Prince entered negotiations with Warner Brothers over a new recording contract.
His status as an artist had clearly changed during the period of his rise, the music industry had been making ever-increasing mind-boggling profits, and Prince had noticed that the other stars in the ess business, including the marquee names at Warner's, were now taking over. he pays them a lot of money Madonna is one of their artists REM becomes a Warner Brothers artist and these artists are having big hits and signing big deals it gets to a point in the 90s where Madonna and Michael Jackson have signed very very big deals with his record companies thirty million dollar deals of 60 million dollar deals and prince is angry that prince sees himself as a better artist than michael jackson or madonna and arguably he's right unlike michael jackson and madonna you can let a Prince alone in the studio and he'll come out with a hit record he's built his own studio it's a self contained world he can produce hit records ito so Prince wants to get paid big money he wanted the headline to be a hundred million dollar deal and he became so obsessed with waking up to see that headline in the papers that he could argue that he didn't care how he got it at least so $100 million seemed to reflect general self-confidence The importance of the music business at the turn of the decade During the 1970s, as rock and roll matured, the appeal of black music expanded and the appetite of the The public for their product was insatiable, the major record labels saw the opportunity to generate huge sums of money in In the 1980s they consolidated and the commercial face of music changed radically.
Record companies that had started life as the fiefdom of wealthy music enthusiasts and charismatic businessmen had morphed into huge corporate enterprises. the other in a seemingly limitless stream of income Artist profiles got bigger and bigger with MTV and stadium tours amplifying their cultural presence and the global reach of the superstar acts that made it in the '80s Arguably that Prince was rivaled only by Michael Jackson and Madonna in terms of fame. and the prominence as a solo artist that had led to that level of position until the early '90s and when his contract expired for renewal, Prince was once again busy topping the charts with diamonds and pearls from 1991 in the early '90s.
Prince had pretty much come out of the '80s as sort of the biggest stars of that decade and became the first artist since the Beatles to simultaneously say the number one album and position in the movie When Doves Cry Abba Rain though. his sounds had deteriorated slightly since that period he continued to release a series of non-beach albums more artistically looking than the last and remained a massive massive name its like when the 80s came to an end he started to slip a bit with the graffiti bridge , for example, which is kind of a sequel to Purple Rain is a terrible, terrible movie that made it seem like some of his artistic decisions were such Maybe not the best he was making as a deck that came to an end, but he had a phenomenal success with a Batman soul. ndtrack, so he ended the decade in a weird position where on the one hand, yes, some of his ideas didn't prove subcircuit success like the ones before, and on the other hand, he was still making mass-selling albums, the diamonds and pearls album that came. after graffiti bridge had none of the concept, you know, none of the story, it was just an album, a collection of songs that had six singles on the back, it was a massive seller, thought six million or something, and when he entered Contract negotiations Warner's, actually, he was a little stoned again, you're getting ready to go into contract renegotiation, it certainly benefited him to have a more commercially successful record and the diamonds and pearls gave him that right, although as an artist , Prince may have had few pairs.
From Warner's perspective, the business case was perhaps not all that compelling. Historically, the label had been incredibly supportive of a musician who was often idiosyncratic in his worth and activity. sometimes deliberately difficult under the guidance of record executives Moe Austin and Lenny Waronker Warner Brothers had established a reputation as one of the most artist-friendly labels in the industry Austin and Warren Kurt started in the 1960s and retained some of the idealism of that time. his ethos was to allow musicians the space to develop and express their creativity for the long term, free from the commercial pressure of the demand for instant success.
Prince had enjoyed the freedom to pursue the full spectrum of projects that caught his unsupervised news that the label had acquiesced in his desire to be self-managed and work without a producer, had endorsed his forays into film, and had agreed to invest in creating his own Paisley Park record label, though Prince had reciprocated by delivering hits and the prestige he was prone to. to have. taking unpredictable turns, including withdrawing albums before release, refusing to do press interviews, and on one occasion demanding that Warner release their work without promotion—decisions that struck the label as nothing less than sabotage when compared to the other acts of popularity of the time in hard financial terms.
Prince wasn't necessarily a safe bet. He wouldn't have thought that the Prince was strictly speaking as bankable as Madonna and Michael Jackson. These guys are selling phenomenal records every time they put something on. kind of higher concept pieces like love sexy a little confused as many people as man have bought it he was making weird business decisions in the late 80s particularly the lovesexy tour to sort of tour in europe to ignore the usa market UU and he did the same, a sign of the times, he didn't make as much money as home, he went to his European fan base, while the other guys had more global touring album sales, which created the issue.
What they were having with Prince was that he was producing too many records too fast faster than his promotion and marketing machine could really digest faster than the market and the media could digest we were in an era where most artists would release records anywhere from two to three years apart and arguably he could have had two records a year if he had wanted and wanted to because he thought a record was like a newspaper when it was done was from that was from that time And I finished this song last night in the studio. I want people to listen to it today.
It is relevant for today. I produced it today. It's about how I feel today. People should listen to it today. accepting so much product for many artists and as a result made it difficult for the label to promote him so there was really a legitimate argument for spacing things out, it just didn't fit with him as an artist and when the parties finally sat down around a table to discussing the terms of a new deal, they both had priorities they were eager to achieve for the prints. It was the number stamped on the contract of 100 million dollars to confirm him as the most valuable artist in the business. he got his wish when negotiations concluded, statements were issued to the press announcing that Prince had resigned from Warner Brothers in the biggest deal of all time, he and I had some differences on how crucial that headline really was because when you go into the details of what makes a deal worth that kind of money you know the lord gives and the lord takes away, there's going to be something in those negotiations in the fine print that you might wake up one morning and really don't like once you get past the headline and stuff it was my argument, so I approached it quite cautiously because I realized that I really did have an incredibly comprehensive, I might even say lenient, agreement with Warners.
They were clearly losing a ton of money and Paisley parked the label because it wasn't collateralized with royalties from him. All the lofts in Paisley Park were canceled and didn't come out of Prince's pocket, which is part of the reason. why he didn't care and he could keep churning out these kinds of self-indulgent projects, clearly Warners wanted to end that, but at the same time, how do you stop it? How do you do it without upsetting the artist you are desperately? I want to keep the artist who, as a Warner Brothers artist, is worth so much not only in terms of sales, but also in terms of prestige because when you have an artist like Prince, it's attractive to sign newer artists. a brand name, so they were in a bind where they were looking for any means to cut their losses at Paisley Park, the label without doing something that would affect their relationship with him is significant, and inadvertently gave them what he gave them the media they needed saying I want this hundred million dollar deal I'm obsessed with the advances I get from my records that's really the most important thing to me and everything else to hell at the end of the day the prints came out With a deal they gave him a 20 percent royalty rate and was promised $10 million on each new album, as long as the previous album sold five million copies, so Prince walked out of the business meeting hawking that he'd had this big $100 deal. millions of dollars. that he just signed with Warner Brothers now as he promised those pop culture reports when RCA Records signed Elvis Presley in 1956 they paid an unprecedented $35,000 at the time here's a number unheard of for ourtimes a hundred million dollars that's the deal Prince made Warner Brothers Records a 10 million advance 10min 2 million each for 6 albums the rest in royalties more than Michael Jackson more than Madonna and Prince gets a title corporate VP Madonna is w orth 60 million yours is worth a hundred million it's not actually there's no articles immediately at that time in the press saying it's worth up to a hundred million dollars I know these people who work with print say it's a hundred million dollar deal but it's just worth a hundred million if each of his next five records sells 5 million copies now in the 90s that seemed possible nowadays of course it seems impossible and even then it seemed just possible not likely enough to see a new album on a tour at the moment it is Prince who is The next LP, Diamonds and Pearls, will present his last bad stop on his label, one of the other records, last week to give employees a sneak peek of the upcoming Diamonds and Pearls album.
Selling 5 million copies of anything is risky to say the least, but Prince was in a very good position to do it at the time creatively, it's hard to say that Muse is somewhat unreliable and while it was enormously successful, if not necessarily as innovative as he had been in the past, he had been very commercially successful in his career with diamonds and pearls and seemed poised to continue diamonds and pearls had sold 5.8 million copies 5.8 not ten not twelve and that six had sold 5.8 million copies so it had to stay at that level and generally speaking it doesn't surpass itself a reasonable expectation is it will sell about 30% less 30% less at 5.8 it would be less than 5 million, therefore he's not going to get his hundred million dollars, in fact, he'll probably end up owning the record company's money because all of that money is way up front, it's a loan, and it doesn't take a long time to develop.
Realizing this as to whether the deal resolved what is everyone's question a very simple answer a year and a half later had a
slavein his face with his new contract secured Prince turned his attention back to music though the terms of his contract now set a high standard for the commercial presentation of any upcoming releases. Prince had assembled a band, the new Power Generation, to which he had given Co billing of diamonds and pearls, and gone from being a solo artist fueled by electronics to work more collaboratively within a traditional band. The group established Diamonds and Pearls on the accompanying tour to huge success and a follow-up record was nearly complete before Inc had dried up.
The Contra Warners eager to keep up the momentum and enter the '90s with a new sound, the band worked hard. in the studio for what would become popularly known as a love symbol after the unpronounceable symbol that took the place of a title, we were really close after the Diamonds of Pearls tour and that album so we were on fire we knew the The band was just hype, you know, ready to go in the studio, ready to record, you know, I mean it was a fantastic position at the time, it was a very positive vibe with the band and with Prince, I think he was happy with the singles. they were being chosen. the sound of the new Power Generation I think was much more commercial than what Prince was doing before, I think more organic, unless it was electronically driven than a lot of Prince's work at the time, maybe more in the tradition of soul music some things diamonds pearls and cream is a little that's a lot there was a throwback but there was a modern element but i think that's what made that period of the afarensis catalog stand out is he it leaned a lot more on the whole I think I wanted to do something that was a little bit outside the box because you and diamonds and a lot of prose it was commercial it's quite commercial actually I mean it was like an asymmetrical album but very well done but it was so much more commercial than the things he had done.
I think he wanted to do something else, something that was more expressive of his creative side. You know he always tries different styles of music. to jam and play all night like kids, you know funky, you know, because I mean we had all the great funk records at the time, you know, so that's in their DNA, I mean it's something that's going to come out of anyway but i think one time we had that particular ending that band MGP was that it was just a whole different monster the whole band was just funky like everything came out it was just a great band a new generation of energy that took the control, introduced podium powerhouse Koki J Damon, check out the lineup for The new Power Generation included rapper Toni M, who was featured prominently on the Love Symbol album.
He is Prince. He tried to address the changes that occurred in popular music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The advent of hip hop had a huge impact on black music and culture in particular. the funk and soul jams of the princes' generation saw total elimination as rap took over, but by the early '90s hip-hop itself was beginning to evolve and the party was registering political controversy and social commentary from his formative years had subsided. to the aggressive nihilistic dystopias of gangsta rap, a world away from prince's traditional frame of reference, the symbol of love made a conscious effort to address the zeitgeist, but fell short Along with a narrative concept and sequences of Spoken words from confused audiences, the album's mix of funk soul and R&B included an attempt to incorporate rap, most notably with the sexy singles MF and my name is Prince, both tracks charting poorly in the US 36 respectively, after the recent diamond and pearl hits, represented a drastic drop in fortunes, as for Prince's legendary $100,000,000 that had evaporated, released in October 1992, the beloved symbols struggled to achieve 1 million sales well below the minimum of five million required to secure its advance. from Warners new age had gotten off to a shaky start those singles my name is Prince and sexy and we ain't were critical hits but I think when you establish a wide audience and then you start off you know you become more explicit once you're in a certain kind of exploration some people are going to tune out you know but I think as an artist you have to stay excited about what you're doing and you know my mom probably didn't buy that love token album but okay, if someone did, they went to look at record trends and what the sales were going to be and all that, I mean, everyone wants to get rings.
I'm not saying he didn't want to hit, but he wanted to do what was in his heart. He wants to make the music that is coming. They hired me. Will not go. I want to make diamonds or pearls to the three ladies. means it's what you know is coming through it prince and the new generation of power take over act one print a look to give the symbol of love a boost heading out on their first ever usa tour. in five years from March 1993. album a love story centered on his future wife Might Be Garcia and reinvented it as a live theatrical presentation with the second set dedicated to the hits and shows staged in small, intimate venues the The tour turned out to be popular and the tickets moved around a lot oh I highly doubt it at the time we were.
We were just a well oiled, slick machine at the time so we could turn the corner and he wanted to do something a little more theatrical for the show which he did. which was great because it was more like a theater tour it was innovative in a Prince would show us in many ways the reviews in the reviews were awesome they were amazing everywhere we went they sold out and the band was on fire and we just had a great time you know i am if his machine can't keep up with us what are we supposed to do, what is he supposed to do? video store they should be able to go on tour and they shouldn't be able to have support and you know do the things they're supposed to do and have a track record of success that the company gets paid gets paid well the situation with Warner Brothers with their audience while we were on tour, I think Trench was just trying to leave his world to some degree to let him know, let them know what he was going through, it was a monologue, mostly on them, you know, he says it says something about Warner Brothers and there's a lot of booing in the audience and one night I remember they started singing like Warner Brothers and Prince just turned around with a microphone and he was like crazy, he just walked up on stage and berated his record label for more or less not letting him do it. what he wanted, that in addition to having signed what he proclaimed was a hundred million dollar contract he didn't really shine with the poor artists that had been retained by his record label. aphic because he was just bragging about having this great deal where his record label was giving him everything he wanted things were complicated at Warner Brothers at the time there was a very big one I called it the civil war that was going on I worked on two Labels other than Warner during those years there was a l Despite the battles at the top, his treatment was seen as unfair or too generous in allowing the other artists time and time again to return to ownership for him.
I don't think he was ever able to accept the fact that he didn't own it. his music he didn't feel as loved by the label anymore, which is strange because they were the same people he had initially been dealing with anyway for his entire career and once those people left, once again, Ostin and Lenny Waronker moved away and had to In response to their own new bosses, things went from bad to worse and he started shipping out albums that weren't just uncompromising. I would say at times they were kind of a Hannibal and he clearly wasn't bringing them his top stuff and he started putting out his albums so fast that in order to get out of his contract, I think they even threatened him with legal action because he was just putting out now trying to put out an album every six months with the parts at a dead end.
The argument quickly turned sour in the summer of 1993. The imprint presented Warner with a new Power Generation album. expectations attached to its core brand, but when Golf distributed through a phone-ordering service and merchandise stores at its shows, this foray into independence in turn drew the ire of Warner Brothers, who vaguely saw it as a overt breach of contract at this point they wanted to release the best of consolidating their career a bit making sure they made a lot of money off of this you know Prince hits album and copies just keep bringing new albums and new material and he had another side project album Gold which was his new power generation album headlined by Tony M the terrible rapper this would never sell but Prince wanted us to release it rap/soul disco you know with real instruments and it was also a showcase for tony for tony m doing his thing you know it's very in the tradition of movies like blaxploitation a lot of it you know i think that we had like a Deuce and a quarter on the front of the record like we're all in California, you know, posing like all the ruggish thugs, you know, looks like we were, you know some kind of gang, but hey, it was kind of just a memory , we had worked on these tracks and Prince had been driving listening to do, it's like I really like this, you know, we're going to put out those albums that he did because we were able to get out of the box and we could make a totally different sound than Prince I was doing, but there were still elements of that sound that were still tied together and I think at the time that sound for me was part of the fun and the things that we did.
I thought I would, yeah, and you know you're skinny. gs happens you know and you just have to move on to the next thing you know and that was heartbreaking you know but you move on it was in the same creative territory as something else we worked on called The Undertaker and I think this was also where Prince started realizing that he couldn't legally circumvent the system, something happened with Undertaker, like he wanted to just press like a thousand copies and just give it to his friends and, you know, he might be interested aside and somebody Warner Brothers you can't. do that honky tonk woman and you know there was some originals in it but I mean it was very careful it was a jam session with me and Sonny and Prince you know then in the middle of the night it was like this is great let's do it you know I want to get this out to some people and you know that Warner Brothers intervenes that no, you can't do anything that you release you know that it has to go through us feeling trapped and that their art and identity have been Taken hostage by a cynical, autocratic and self-serving corporation, Prince made one of the most drastic and infamous moves of his career.
He ceased to be Prince on June 7, 1993. Prince announced that he had changed his name to the glyphunpronounceable from the love token album that he would no longer deliver any new material to Warner Brothers and that his contractual obligations would be fulfilled by releasing old songs from the vault. His core fan base continued to support him, but the general public was stumped, though his PR team suggested that Lee asked for a call. the artist most commonly referred to as the artist formerly known as Prince and universally mocked by a media industry that was sure he had finally left his senses the artist formerly known as Prince has one of rock's most controversial and mysterious figures is he even asked that it be mentioned only as a symbol, but for clarity in this story, we'll call him Prince, that extraordinary moment when Prince changes his name to symbol a symbol that no one knew how to print Warner Brothers was actually in the hook to produce like little round disks filled with the software to hand out to people in magazines so they could reprint Prince's name the way he wanted it printed crazy my name is very spiritual to me it has a lot of spiritual meaning And one day maybe I'll hear a sound that will give me the best feeling of what it's supposed to be. it should be but for now I'm just going by the way it looks at the time his complaint is that Warner is not granting him ownership of their IP that's the way we would put it today it becomes an IP battle .
I made this music, why doesn't it belong to me? I don't own my post of all the things Prince continues to be obsessed with to this day and yet at the time they were things musicians didn't talk about much now it's not that unusual to find an independent musician talking about why I want to stay on an independent label because I want to own my work or find someone, a veteran artist, who says I'm suing my record company to get my rights back because under copyright law and then it just becomes a conference, but at that time. we weren't really used to artists making these complaints, it seemed like my tummy hurt.
I mean, it looked like someone famous and rich was planning that he wasn't rich enough. The name changed. You could see many different shapes. I mean defense. he was kind of a buffoon, he certainly became the subject of talk show jokes etc, he had to see that happen. I can't imagine he didn't. What do you call this here? Did I call him Prince? Oh no, yeah, yeah, all because he's the artist, a bombshell and Mr. The name change dispute certainly hurt Prince, especially the name change. I think I'll call him Prince. Okay, why don't you take a cabin and go home?
Okay, negative, his behavior had been weird, his public behavior had been weird in a lot of ways before that and when you do something like change your name to an unpronounceable symbol. Sure it's an interesting g publicity stunt, but if you're in a news organization, let alone a record company, it's okay when you talk about the name of the artist, the amount of production work that goes into simple representation, is another thing, not to mention the public. perception of what he says about that person now may have had reasonably defensible legal, legal, and moral reasons for wanting to do that.
I want to endear you to people and I just remember a headline which I think was from the New Musical Express at the time and it said my name is and the subhead was and I'm crazy George death after he had proclaimed that he would no longer send records to Warner Brothers but still under contract Prince found himself in a bind. The genesis of his discussion with the label had been his prolific output; however, any new work would not now reach the public ear, although he has picked a fight. With his masters paid to release his work, Prince was faced with the reality that he could have thrown his entire career into limbo.
Here was a man who in the late '70s negotiated not having a producer. He had an executive producer on his first chance, but he wouldn't have a real producer on him and that was, you know, his first battle with Warner Brothers, he won the second battle he was a dirty mind when he went to pitch. a really raw album. Warner Brothers said that he needs to write. the overdubs clean it up a bit but no it came out as a dirty mind this record that Warner Brothers didn't expect to be more New Wave and R&B later in 1999 comes out as a double album that's another argument Prince is one with . them and I think you see a succession of Prince getting away with it when he goes into the early 90s he assumes that you know he's still going to get away with it and you can see why he would but there's also certainly a touch of arrogance in wh what he was doing at the time, he couldn't really see that the quality of the work wasn't necessarily there, he was more convinced that people just accepted what he had to give them, he wasn't really questioning himself or his artistic or Quod he controlled the time we were working on new music that wasn't meant to be released by one of us this Prince didn't want any material to come out I mean it all came out eventually but at the time we were working on a collection of songs that they included things that were on the way and things that ended up being in the golden experiences for a while we were Hurst not knowing what album would come out next what the sequel was I don't know how the songs would separate between the two and I don't think Prince found a way around Warner Brothers and do it on his own the dispute with Warner Brothers had a direct effect on our work environment and the fact that you know Prince basically he would be talking to someone at war ner brothers or his lawyer and we came to rehearse and they called us into his office and he needed to vent he needed to explain you know himself for his own sanity i'm sure he needed someone to discuss these ideas and talk to with him, so we would go up there, he would be visibly upset and you know what mo Ostin told me, you know, and I think his consciousness was flooded with artists and he began to dismantle the empire that Prince had achieved.
Built on his years at the top, Paisley Park records his own label and vehicle for many of his side projects. It operated as a joint venture with Warner's subscription marketing and distribution, though some of the products emanating from Paisley Park had been widely derided as indulgences for Prince's latest release. bride were legends from days gone by on the list, too, including George Clinton with Mavis Staples Warner, but they were sure the entire venture was non-commercial folly tolerated as a favor to an ar The artist who retaliated insults back in February In 1994 they pulled the plug on Paisley Park, withdrew their distribution agreement, and sank the business.
No doubt they were looking to upset Prince and, you know, take his support away from something, but obviously he still wanted to keep it going. she had things that she wanted to release side projects that she wanted to release and I think withdrawing her support of that was a bit like a stab at Prince she was going to say Warner won't let me do what I want where they said we were going to do that so we're going to show you that we won't let you do a 1 and you can't have the money to keep doing it when Prince started playing in the 80's he had so many side projects and so much extra stuff he could give away it looked like an extension of the Prince world in a way he had groups at the time he had stages he had Vanity 6 and then Apollonia 6.
These are side projects that he just seemed to be able to have enough material for his own work for his work weird songs Manic Monday went on to you so that he could go to the Paisley Park label dressed in what they were bringing him, also became quite clear as time went on I think. that Prince was also interested in producing mostly bridal albums made Paisley Park a bit of a laughingstock because the quality of the Princess material wasn't there, certainly the quality of the artist wasn't there, so he ended up actually asking Warner Brothers to finance a vanity label as an extension of your playground rather than an actual working label and again I think our meetings have gone on record saying you know you had a hard time getting Warner Brothers to take Paisley Park seriously when Paisley Park didn't want to that they take it seriously.
Everyone was frustrated with Paisley Park, the label just because and just because the records hadn't been a successful label. Warner's was to say because that was because Prince wasn't accepting his responsibilities as an A&R person as a label head he wasn't producing the kind of product that was competitive at the time his position was my product is what it is and it's his job to market and promote it and I you're failing there were both parties were right it was a constant struggle to get any kind of major attention from the promotional and marketing people at Warner's they wanted to support but they didn't really believe in the product the fact is we were giving them what happens in the industry called hard records meaning they weren't easy to promote and market to radio which at the time the only way I knew how to promote a record was to go on radio they had their heads buried in the sand as far as any type of alternative promotional and marketing medium, which was always a source of frustration for the artists and producers and me as a j efe de sealo it was also because I told you I know we have a viable product here that people who find it really liked it has a place in the market somewhere so how do we get it to that place and if we have to bypass the normal route of going straight to urban radio or pop radio, whatever those formats are, so isn't it our job to find the detour to reach that audience?
But the record labels just weren't ready to do it because they were on sort of autopilot, they had enough product to feed the audience. Machine, so they didn't have the time or energy to do anything that was the least bit creative or off-kilter. Prince's frustration with the complacency of the music business, coupled with his immediate need to find a way out of the impasse with Warner. gave him a radical idea, he came up with a plan to independently release a single and promoted himself through his new label n PG Records incredibly, Warner granted him permission to do so and on February 14, 1994, the most beautiful girl in the world aired globally. ly with distribution support from small indie label bell mark the litmus test she was the most beautiful girl in the world but the single got the money behind it the maxi-single promo you know we did the he did the whole world on that song with the most beautiful girl in the world finally got the chance to do that i think they were sick of the hassle and i think they wanted him to fail if they believed in the sun that much we probably would have taken it for themselves so what he did Prince went with his newly launched mpg record label, invested two million dollars in funding and promoting the song and had this huge worldwide campaign, he really created this huge hype around the song so that by the time it was ready to come out, this was really Importantly, it was unusual because I can't remember a superstar single being available outside of normal distribution channels, it was harder to find than many d e the other r's from what you know were his average pitches and there was a mail order campaign about it at the time and it was pretty innovative in terms of what he would do later sometimes successfully sometimes not in his career he's always been been looking for ways to follow Outside of the major label model, all the stuff that happens in the '90s, you look back and you think it's a pioneer.
This guy is a pioneer at the time. to do and by the way there was arguing between them about what to put out as singles before this and generally Warner was right and the copies weren't so what Warner is saying is you want to do this yourself go ahead it will cost you a a lot of money you'll see you need us you don't really understand radio promotion costs a lot of money you'll see you need us as it turned out he has a hit with a big cheesy ballad i think he deserved to go to number one it's his first UK number one se it proved at least to himself that he could still make hits and also allowed him to certainly also convinced him to believe that he had a solid business sense that he could do this on his own and I think Warner Brothers let him do it somehow it worked out for them bad because it gave Prince all the ammunition he needed to be able to say I can do this on my own that was an amazing hit well that's a song they know and it's an engineering effort and that was Prince's proof for Warner Brothers, you know this can be done, you know they're hindering my style and preventing me from, you know, being as successful with my music as I really can be, sothat you know it was a good thing it was a bad thing because if prince has shown that he's correcting his reveal you can't stop him again this is a prescient move at the time it seemed a little weird and it would get weirder as it went on after As things got stranger and stranger and indeed more difficult difference, although The World's Most Beautiful Girl had been a worldwide hit, it wasn't a magic bullet and the broader issues remained.
Prince had recently suggested to the label that he would send two new albums and experienced gold to be released on the same day which would put them competing against each other in the marketplace, unsurprisingly Warner dismissed the entire plan as a crazy exercise in self-immolation and he insisted that he would work on improving it when it was released in August. Prince refused to participate in any promotion depicting the album. as old material from a dead artist, what's interesting is that Prince initially wanted to have come out on the same day as the gold-experienced album, thus pitting the two kinds of brands, prince and symbol, against each other to see which one won it won't be successful and you could assume that the prince was open that the golden experience would be the most successful album, it's certainly the one he was promoting. omoting at the time and the one who was playing the songs live so it's kind of a shady weird period in Princea's career people didn't like this record not because it's a bad record it's actually a great record it's a fantastic Prince record listen to it now it's great but it's a George Clinton album James Brown Avant funk it's not a pop album at all and people didn't know what to make of that record the critics who want Prince to create pop songs like it disgusted it a little intensely and very wrongly the fans just didn't know what to make of it you come a funny record it's very strange it's a very confusing album and it's certainly one of the most interesting albums of their 90's although I wouldn't call it an absolute classic , it's backed by these kind of nonsense songs, the title track and orgasm, and from the very title, you know what's going on. in them you get some dance tracks and you release pheromones which in the context of the time don't quite work when they came out but in retrospect they are a little dated a little better than some of that other stuff so weird let's hear it now awesome hold up so well as a Black Album sure sometimes it's absolutely better then it looks like he's going to do anything to get out of this record deal the problem is he gets caught up in the whole Warner Brothers battle so you already have Prince what he's saying is starting to overshadow the music anyway and very deliberately has in the artwork Prince's birth date of 1958 and Prince's death date in there as well the year the album came out so Prince obviously sees it's like a record it's like closing a chapter for him you Rolling Stone evaluation you've come it's not fair because it's a good record and yet it's not inaccurate it was another part of a spectacular career derailment, again, no one could see where this was.
Going on, it looked like one of pop's greatest geniuses had given up on pop. It seemed that the person who had signed the biggest record deal in history had quit his label. All of this didn't make much sense. some in-store imprints resumed negotiations with the label over the fate of the golden experience and the battle reached its nadir unable to find common ground Warner officially released the black album, a widely pirated record that Prince had shelved in 1987 Hits were
traded in the press with both sides taking out confusing ads in Billboard magazine. Prince claimed that the record company was deliberately suppressing the gold experience and insisted that he had a moral right to ownership of his masters, including his back catalogue.
In the first weeks of 1995, he began appearing in public with the word
slavescratched across his face. I am aware of a conversation he had with more than Austin around the time of the gold spending. He mentioned the gold experience as a record he wanted to put out. We had two start working on this record. however I think we had been talking and he got a phone call he said he said he spoke to mo Ostin on the phone and more Austin was like e has talked about other matters and then Austin said ok as soon as you finish that experience record gold you know send it right away you know and it will do what we know you know well we will do what we do and Prince said I haven't even started yet I'm just conceiving it in my brain and rather yeah either way it's ours So I think Prince at that point had an epiphany that this company thinks they own the ideas that are in my head.
I haven't even started recording anything and they're already talking about what they're going to do with it, so I think that was really the point where Prince realized that he couldn't do this anymore and he walks into the rehearsal it's written on his face and you know he's like that I'm here with the next generation of power and the artist formerly known as Prince com o band member agreed to his first TV interview in over a decade but refuses to answer any questions now the press is still talking ab out of the dispute with your record company there's a dispute there i mean it seems like that's what he kicked you out of the United States that's what made you change your name to an unpronounceable symbol he changed his name because his spirit said to a spirit yes good and you feel freer now that you can't be approached a bit you seem to be fighting for freedom what exactly do you want to break free of when you talk about your record company is there something you want to own is there something you want to be able to edit is there something you want to be able to say that you can't maybe you could take it tell me what you want to own your own masters No and your job you can leave if you want yes i can you can't well in the record industry you can't but you can't just stop acting yes you can but you know yes no we don't get the signature yes you can't own your masters you could only let yourself know pennies on the dollar while other pe ople you know? or they just have fat mattresses and keep throwing away money they've made from your wits you know you'll never see it I don't think he just perceived his treatment as unfair I think it was a general feeling about the business that it's just unfair maybe if would have gotten to him a little more all the men I guess and explained himself a little more clearly he might have gotten more sympathy when things turned probably not because he was really the first person to take this issue on that level it's a point commercial that has become a cultural hotspot because of everything that has happened since then but it's the mid 90's for your average music fan it all seemed really weird it's like why do I care?
Turns out we all would. We end up worrying about these things, but we didn't know at the time, so I think people were aware that things were changing, but I don't think they were aware of what was to come. Warner Brothers said something and there was a rebuttal. The whole thing came out in Billboard magazine, you know, a month or so and I was like wow, this is heating up, man, this is getting like who knows what's going to happen. I remember and then listen, I don't know what's going to happen to you. he knows they might try to send someone who knows someone needs to know where the vaults are and how to get the key because he knows who knows.
I mean big business is dirty. the established music industry that it would have to find alternative means to produce and market its art, expressed its sentiments on a new-energy second album, Exodus, a collection of agitprop funk jams with lead vocals taken by rejected bassist Sonny T. by Warner's Prince released Exodus through NPR without regard to the terms of his contract, well, you know, when we grew up, we both had our own bands, we were both singers, so it's really weird that he, you know, while we grew up and yet you're both in the same band, he knows I've been singing for years and stuff, so he's always asked me to do something to sing. came out of what you could say was Prince let's make a record on Sunny why don't you know?
It started off harmless enough, but it quickly turned into a situation where Sunny made my point, I was Prince's mouthpiece, you know, and a lot of ideas for instance having at the time, I mean, the exes have started, man, I mean, it's a verbal beating, if I remember correctly I haven't heard it in years, but I remember the first time I heard it after the director sang and it all went well. it was like wow he managed to channel his anger into very specific phrases and the syntax was so creative and on point you know it was whoever it was targeted that specifically should have been ashamed of themselves you just got in on the beautiful experience.
Welcome to Dawn Exhausted by the ongoing conflict and collateral damage to their brand, Warner finally agreed to release The Golden Experience in September 1995 on the condition that Prince stop publicly maligning them, the album was warmly received and Randi praised as the Prince's best work in years, it was clear from the sales figures, however, that the dispute had affected his mainstream popularity. A few months later, the whole unhappy episode ended when the parties agreed on the terms to end their relationship. it's not going to end let alone yes ironically prince gets away with it again yes unconditionally what they ended up settling was a deal that experienced gold would come out as a joint warner brothers npg release and then prince should . them two more albums from the vault and those would be the ones that are going to be chaos and mess and the weird friends of the vault for sale and it needs to be sort of a collection of old stuff that they had to have with them and it stands out very deliberately originally intended for private use only in the artwork and such that would show the two feelings that Prince had for these things that were there were kind of shots these and now a clean piano and I think they were quite happy to get the prints off behind his back at the time the public battle between Prince and Warner Brothers didn't go well for anyone it hurt Prince's career huge Lee because people felt he was entitled and the Warner brothers' statements just made them seem even more money hogs than which record labels tend to seem like, which rarely hurts both of them, especially in light of the Gold Experience album, which was the best album Prin ce had certainly been done since diamonds and pearls and possibly even before that and it was delayed a year it came out in 1995 there are at least two lyrics on the album that talked about 1994 in the present tense and it had been ta I was talking about it for a long time , but there was so much bile on both sides that the album couldn't be promoted effectively and it's very hard when you work for a record company and an artist talks about you to feel good about the promotion. the record and making them a star was some of the strongest work we ever did, but the events and the emotional climate at the time was unbelievable, man.
I remember coming to rehearsal and sometimes getting a headache just from the stress of just being pushed to our limits. I will say that from my opinion and we were all a bit in awe. This is a strange place to be and unpredictable from day to day and Prince basically figured out a way. to distill his mockery into truly great art, Fritz was somehow reverting to a form that was more familiar. bless Electronica is a more real game you know in a way it was a bit like a chapter two of diamonds and pearls with a smaller ensemble and a lot of rage I think because it was such a small record you know I mean it has something. bells and whistles in it, but the core of the music was so organic, you know, and you could hear it over all the other stuff, there's a couple of little electronic things in there, but I think because it was so warm it sounds warm. when it's released and for a very good reason it's again like diamonds and pearls in a way it's a collection of great songs there's no other high concept work there's a few things there's an mpg operator telling you that Prince is dead there are the sequences that are designed to make it feel like you're listening to an interactive experience you know you push a button and you get there come experiment with the gold experience or whatever experience comes out and responds but that doesn't really hurt ct far from what great songs you are on controller P a fantastic song you have the most beautiful girl in the world appears on an album there you got gold it's kind of an attempt to do purple rain for the 90's but it works for me too and it's like that time where his output was very heavy, very dense, but he still hasn't gone overboard and still manages to put out good songs, things like the BG operator and download experiences, just started.
I'm going to see a future, a time when things were more interactive and I think, in a way, it'sa metaphor for just cutting out the big corporation and being a more direct source, you know, because you know your arty starts in a schoolyard a girl captain both with her friends the fights college jumped all up there work for free no so what if my sister just doesn't know tell me what you told me check out the live shows behind this they were great too it's a period that guy is really been dover the years i think at that time a lot of people would go and be disappointed that he wasn't there playing the old material but to go on stage playing the new material because I was not playing copies anymore, I was playing printed material and when you listen to a lot of the live shows now you just realized that this is an album where I still do it. he got and still claims himself in the '90s as a newly minted independent artist.
Prince began to make conciliatory noises towards his former employers. He claimed he harbored no ill will and that his problem had never been specifically with Warner Brothers, but with the entire music economics edifice. He made statements to the press that were received at the time as oblique or quirky telling the enemy that once the Internet is a reality, the music business is over in retrospect, but Prince's remarks were prescient. The harbingers of a man who appeared in the future and perceived the digital frontier with uncommon clarity in 1999 will be free and we can sell the music direct to consumer and we can give it away if we want in hindsight Prince's problem really wasn't so much with Warner as with the industry itself i mean the person was ahead of his time he was absolutely right a lot of the things he was complaining about i thought he was dead on record companies had their heads in the sand they were all in pilot automatic the business model was outdated we had meetings where frustratingly he would want to find alternative ways to release and promote records because he was so dissatisfied with the way labels did business now he signed with Warner's so of course his frustration is directed to Warner's because that was the business he was in with, but it wouldn't have been any different if he signed with Columbia or RCA or whatever.
He wanted somewhere else because it was the business model itself, the industry and how it worked, frustrated him. I really think impressions is a person who has really great ideas and is sometimes too ahead of the curve and other people. Please, I don't know how to catch up with him and maybe it's not even a good idea because sometimes you've seen too far into the future which can be problematic for everyone involved. I remember he told us that one day music will sell, you know? back and forth through computers we're like outta here man what you talking about you know but lo and behold you know so much in the history of prints throughout the 90's you feel anticipated it feels like he's Merlin living life in reverse so in 1995 he says how the internet really works is there a real internet like what they say is the end of the music industry and everyone says this is kind of crazy because he's changed his name to the symbol and he's writing slave on his face and he's got this beard that's not quite a beard but you don't know what it is so we don't have to take this seriously and it turns out he's absolutely right and his attidude. about no ow to say his masters don't own is to post owing his record company money for his work this all leads him to declare himself a slave well if you said that now if you said the artist seemed enslaved to the company system record company, everyone would say, yes, tell me he told me something I don't know in 1992, Prince, he was Prince, then he signed a hundred billion dollar deal with Warner Brothers Records, the biggest deal in the industry, but his deal fell apart. turned into a public dispute over who would have control and protested the artist's contract. he scrawled the word slave on his face, but everyone remembers this faith all those years or all those times they walked around with a slave on the side of their face.
I never intended to be compared to any slave in the past or any slave in the future. The slavery he had suffered was on my mind and, in addition to the business he was in, we signed a hundred million dollar d. negotiated with Warner Brothers and it turned out to be a little less than desirable a hundred million dollars was negotiated yeah what all that meant yeah it's like I was saying before you can record you can do some kind of art and if you uh You got some kind of chains on you they ain't coming out it's as cool as could be so you felt like a slave artist yeah it sounds like you've grown up no I'm pretty much the same you know yeah yeah , I really. i feel like i have inside you think what would have happened to you if you hadn't been enslaved oh no absolutely not and i know some days i just want to call the people at warner brothers and i just love you man i really if only for the ride and they are part of the experience.
I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to be here talking to you, as time goes by, many major artists today and now leave their major record labels. behind most notably you have Radiohead doing that in 2007 and sort of going off on their own creating their own boutique labels and you have Jack White doing that with third man radio who had done that when they released their album in rainbows and the issue is that Prince was like 10 or 15 years ahead of everyone. these guys and trying to get away from a traditional business model where you had a major label give you money to do stuff and then you would go after that and try to take things under their own control free to record and run their business as he saw fit prince set out to reorganize his life in 1996 while the warner brothers promoted chaos and disorder a scrap album they had received in the divorce settlement prince was dismantling the new generation of power and forming a different though still band under the same name he married the powerful Garcia who later felt pregnant with his first child and relaunched his public profile frequently giving interviews and appearing on TV chat shows, please welcome back to the show.
The artist formerly known as Prince. Tragedy struck at the end of the year when Prince and my son Tazed were born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died within days. Now, they were solely responsible for their business affairs. Prince made headlines. from the public and, rather than take a break here, he ramped up promotional activity for his next album, Emancipation, released on November 19, 1996, Emancipation was heralded as Prince's definitive artistic statement. Three retained music discs from Warner representing years of his strongest work. despite an initial increase in sales, however, the record slowly fell out of sight after only a few weeks on the chart.
I remember a funny situation where Michael Jackson had just put out a history and impressions notice and SoundScan that it was a double disc so he got credit for double the numbers looks like he could do a three CD disc and triple up and get up like why can't you sound wise? I think there is a difference. I mean the sound even moved to a different place actually from previous things because it was more like he was like he was moving me from where I was. I'm trying to go to another level. I want to try something the thing is at this point it's three hours of print it's like there wasn't some great stuff here or there you know it's upside down what kind of funky upbeat song it's hard not to enjoy that when it hits the end of the second disc you get a great run of songs where you really feel the princes getting into what he's doing you know he's about to become a father for the first tunnel one time and you can really feel it coming through of music and that's a pretty nice thing to hear, but on three records you also get a lot of things that are like Prince doing R&B at the time.
I think France made a great effort and you know he was doing more interviews. By the time I nee Determined to get out because I knew the next step would be: I'm alone. I need to reconnect with my families and gain as many new fans as possible. That was the feeling I got from the NASA patient. you know there is a fear factor in being free and the prince's immediate fear was the sorry state of his finances the toxic combination of lavish spending and declining income had brought him to the brink of bankruptcy and the mirage of the contract of $100 million had long since vanished into the wilderness of their label warfare, though shipping a three-disc set had cashed in the figures and seen Emancipation certified platinum, the reality was that the album had barely sold half a million copies during his time with Warners, these numbers would have seemed catastrophic, but in the new independent era the picture was markedly different with all the revenue accruing directly to Prince meeting healthy profits and being encouraged to take his revolution to another bran ch of the music industry establishment, the artist formerly known as Prince held a press conference on Tuesday morning in New York City to announce their first full US tour since 1991.
The tour kicked off Monday night at Pine Knob near Detroit and continues Wednesday at Jones. Beach in New York the artist said that during the 30-day tour they will accompany him on several dates without a doubt Lenny Kravitz George Clinton and Chaka Khan and Santana also said that he will attend to requests made online on this tour and will play classics like Purple Rain and Little Red Corvette to avoid ticket scalping. He said that he will not publish a tour itinerary, but will announce shows through local media several days before each concert, as the album is traditionally released.
Carried out through record companies, the live concert business was populated by squads of middlemen, promoters, agents, and assorted intermediaries who had designed the entire architecture of music. tools was a system that ensured that together they made a handsome profit on any artist who went on tour, once again, printing defied orthodoxy and embarked on a tour in which he himself handled venue booking, ticket sales and marketing cutting out the concert promoters and making sure he retained all the fruits of his labor sales for emancipation really wouldn't have mattered too much to Prince I mean to a degree obviously but he didn't need to do that much sales like you would have done with your old Warner.
Brothers contract I think emancipation sold about 450,000 copies and Prince claimed to have made five million dollars in profit and I think if you look at it people have suggested that for him to have broken even under his contract with Warner Brothers he would have than to have done it. it sold 500,000 copies, which is more than the album actually sold, so for Prince it's a smashing success, he's been able to come out as the most beautiful girl in the world when he sat single and went to number one and proved that he can do it on his own, certainly in financial terms, emancipation showed him he can do it on his own again and Prince was on the road most of the time. 12 months, so he'd be selling merchandise, he'd be selling concert tickets and as long as people were coming to the shows in droves, Prince would be making money hand over fist from this stuff, especially from being on tour for such a long period of time, There are times I remember the road manager at the booking agent at the time in the '90s saying "okay this is Monday Prince wants to do a show on Thursday in a twenty thousand seat arena he just woke up and he said I want to do a show and he's the only artist I've ever worked with and I've said I want to do a show on Thursday and here it is on Monday in a twenty thousand seat arena and it sells out and I've seen that happen many times during the tour business as the record business had an established tradition traditional business model there were certain promoters who had experience and were legitimized by their relationships with artists and managers with Known for being reliable and efficient etc. and the same with agents and it was a network of people who were used to producing tours and doing it correctly and productively and profitably and you know we were very successful in leveraging that network and exploit it properly. he wasn't the least bit interested in production budgets, we would bring things to his attention and the pre-production phase was always painful because it would invariably be conversations as impressions, that's a great creative, theatrical idea, but this is what it will cost .
Well, I pay you to go get the money. I don't care what's going to suck or what it's going to cost to make it happen, but it's so obvious to him he tells me he's figured it out, he's figured out howhaving a viable theatrical production that is competitive and adequate and at the same time optimizing the number of people you have on the road and what you pay and what you don't pay and by eliminating what you know you are not paying the management fee, you're not paying percentages through a lot of people taking percentages and in the traditional touring business model, so you're now touring much more profitably than ever before in your peak years in terms of record sales and it's remarkable and it's a Credit to his business sense because he really figured out how to make a ton of money along the way without compromising the quality of his shows and hats off to me and I think he's great at running gigs independently Prince was estimated to have made thirty million dollars After the 1997 Jam of the Year tour in just 18 months, he had rebuilt his entire fortune, and he had done it on his own terms by relaunching his career, the prince was l Ready to turn his mind to the future and venture into the unknown territory of the next cyber age, he announced that he would be releasing Crystal Ball, a three-CD box set of material and rarities from the vault along with a fourth disc of new songs titled The Truth. si received a minimal number of pre-orders through his website Love for each another calm and his phone line uno 800 new funk was a bold and unprecedented venture into e-commerce, but beset by problems that caused consternation among fans as a first step towards achieving the ultimate goal of becoming an autonomous artistic and commercial entity; however Prince used to run Prince doesn't get enough credit for what he was doing in the late 90's when rady had gotten there in rainbow box set all over his website in 2007 that's 10 years later but people acted like he It wasn't the first time anyone had done this kind of thing, but when you've got Prince doing it in 97 hours, he's taking pre-orders for the crystal ball box set and became the first artist to sell an entire album online directly to his fans all the time. marketing thing, he went directly to the people he wanted to sell it to, there's no middle man, no need for a record label, the printers took everything under their own umbrella organization and I think it's incredibly forward-thinking, it'll have schematic ideas. that is prophetic.
I will be taking orders for my album online. I'm going to use a 1-800 number where you can call and buy it. that work in the 90s no one really knows people haven't done it before now of course it's the whole record business but then it's kind of weird and it doesn't quite work it ends up the fans who order the record have to wait longer than the fans who go to the record store to buy it get different packages people aren't sure what they're buying now it seems like things are falling apart and again prince goes on and on and on it was a sensation of him taking a lot on his shoulders yeah co Sure he is of course he is I'm sure it was a heavyweight for him because he knew he was taking a stance that hadn't been done that way and the fact that he did and he was alone through the whole scrutiny and i was there to witness you know but he kept going he didn't complain he just kept doing what he was doing and i admired him and i said i really respect the fact that there's You have taken this position because there comes a time there has to be a change, you know?
I think what he underestimated was the complications that can arise with just the hectic work involved in physically packaging and sending the code to the post office and shipping these things on time is quite labor intensive. intensive I think he may have underestimated that part, but you know that's just the busy work, it's the concept we're dealing with here with a leader like Prince having that kind of clout, so he was definitely ahead of the game. as far as the amount of attention people were paying I mean honestly I think by the late '90s it was pretty clear to everyone who cared that they knew that what Prince saw some years before was coming to fruition the corollary Some of Prince's criticism of the record business came at the turn of the millennium when the music industry suddenly imploded spectacularly over the course of the 1990s—the industry had become a risk-averse money-making machine monopolized by only a few few major record labels using their muscle to fix the market in their favor and dictate their terms to artists and consumers as well as the quiet migration of print and others to the Internet proved to be the harbinger of a general exodus when Napster, the of peer-to-peer files launched in 1999, consumers rushed to download and distribute music for free and, having neglected to develop a viable commercial presence in cyberspace the industry was overwhelmed the most prominent artists Metallica lined up to condemn Napster and The Recording Industry Assoc The American nation began feverishly filing lawsuits.
American intellectual property is our nation's most important business asset. We cannot sit idly by as our nation's assets are jeopardized or discarded by those who would use them for their own enrichment. Record companies fought tooth and nail over the issue. the courts agreed that it is the record companies that have the license to defraud musicians out of money; he was rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, though the cumulative weight of lawsuits eventually shut down Napster; the music business faced total collapse and artists sought to establish a new digital economy where they had their heads in the sand to market their work and the evidence is plain and simple Napster came from outside the industry the record industry was so myopic about technology all a record company knew in the 80's was if you had a new product you went to the programmers at the radio station you knew you made a video and took it to mtv and b et and anyone else that played a video and you had a PR person who went to print media to any magazine and anyone else who might write something about your artist you hired friends of friends people who worked for labels used to be programmers at radio stations i want say it was this inbred world that had fed on itself for so many years and had basically functioned so successfully and has He had done so many careers and people were loyal to him and they would go on vacations together and party together and marry each other and it was this whole atmosphere that we have this winning business model so let's not fix it if it ain't broke, well the problem was that it was broken or about to break, you see, I'm not a Napster fan.
Don't I think people are being scammed? I don't get it, apart from all I know, it's these people who spend money doing work and someone is enjoying it without my informant, well it's interesting because the artists. I don't understand paid anyway no I mean there's maybe 10 or 12 of them that have semi decent deals and the rest of them know what was going on in the record industry in the mid 90's was a transition from grunge to pop teenager so from an unmanageable drug - addict gang when they sell a 35 cent product for $16 so the record bin is making buckets of money buckets and buckets of money no one thinks things are going to go wrong no one see what's happening print well if the internet becomes a reality you're done and what do you do if you're at a record company, you go back to the jacuzzi and smoke another cigarette when you hear they're not going like I think you're right because you've been right about everything else so far its this big unwieldy juggernaut now and also happily ripping off its customers i think alot of people its a deal now it was about the price of cds now everyone knows you can buy buy a CD for 50P or something why us Are you being charged £18 for a single CD up to £25 for double CDs and now looking back it seems like the record label had gotten massively greedy in the 90s and Was he more interested in making money rather than doing, say, artistic appointments? without quoting the old capital design and we want to put it so I think by the time you as a print said that when the internet comes the industry will be over because by the time things like Napster came out and everything everyone realized they were being scammed. they had been ripped off for years no one saw the digital revolution come to public grade the Princeton I don't think artists would hear people talk that there would be various internet fortune tellers going around saying what expected might happen but the concept of That music is a digital file, the concept that music is no longer an object that you have to go to the store and buy, was not something that most people could understand until Napster came into the industry. it was gone, it ended literally overnight and I remember there used to be little signs of concern that something is going to change here, but we don't know what it is and we're not really taking the time to find out what it is.
We're just going to wait and react because what we've got is too good, it's too easy, and it's working too well, so we'll just gloat and when it comes, the fan will react well too late, princes' final answer to Napster. was to accept it publicly stating that there was nothing to fear and even taking the radical step of releasing a single on the platform in 2001 in the late 90s, however, it was focused on the first work of a new era, both emancipation and crystal ball included songs. there was a hangover from the Warner period, but in '98 the first big release of all the new material was announced.
Confusingly, the new power soul was attributed to the new generation of power, although Prince vigorously promoted it as his new album. The campaign for the new power soul of former Sly Stone bassist Larry Graham and Chaka Khan encouraged the public to buy their new records, which will be released on their MGP label, in a move that echoed the original concept of Paisley Park, The best Warner Brothers album. Records gave me the luxury of creating a state of the art studio and my dream was always to help my heroes come over to my house and record for free and the rest of the money we turned to gold and you're going to tour together, huh?
It is not like this? Yes, now I know what you wrote. I feel a powerful new soul. The sound that he was creating for us and for himself at the time was just something that's just another part of Prince. he listens to so many different genres of music and respects so many artists so it's amazing that he hasn't introduced even more style so i saw it as right this is ours and B this is soul this is rock this is funk. Do you know that there are many things together? w I don't think any of us have thought about it because we know how his mind works, you know that a lot of times when you're in a specialty, you're forced to stay in one genre and say this is what knows you, this is what we're going to to sell these markets that we have created for you, but he feels that the market is universal.
I hear the transition from what was his past to that moment. Both the press and the public as it languished on the charts. Prince made possibly the worst public relations decision of his career. He began suing his own fans in early 1999. The first installment of what would become an unfortunate trend during his years as an independent artist hit the news. Writs were issued against fan sites, magazines, and message boards alleging copyright and
trademark infringement and taking down music videos and images in the course of ongoing legal action as Prince sought to embrace the Internet, it appeared that I It would be exclusively on their own terms.
Prince starts soon. The fans of him in the late 90s. He was seen as hugely reactionary. I mean, first of all, they were fans, so the people you shouldn't be suing are the people who supported him through Warner Brothers, but also part of his problem was with the internet and it seems like he was trying to control the internet. and you had david bowie meeting another ally embracing the internet with bowie net and things i think he said you know he didn't understand why prince was doing this and he said you know you can't stop this you can't contain mercy i think he said or something like that and I was kind of embarrassed to print the guy who had pioneered a few years before internet distribution and you know how to interact with your fans on the internet which is perfect for Prince anyway he's quite a character lonely and allows you to interact with your fans while staying at a distance he has pointed all this out and the n you know his fans may have their own websites and he wants them to shut it down and bring it back to say it's not good public relations to do that when you've made a point of breaking this new connect yourself you say so called freaks inThe internet, which is a problem sometimes because once they use the symbol it's like I've endorsed whatever they have for sale, I think it's more than a touch to criticize.
I understand the privacy issues. I understand the intrusiveness of the press and the paparazzi, but I also understand that if you are a public person and you make a living promoting yourself to the public, it is normal for you to turn your back on anyone. everyone who wants to pay attention to you so if that's the case you should be the artist who makes records in private, doesn't tour, doesn't perform publicly and stays at home if that's what you want to be then i know that but if you're going to come and sell tickets for 20,000 people to come here, you play, you sit in a seat and they stare at you, then you can't be mad that they're staring at you as their argument with the fans rumbled onto the courts.
The prints shocked the music world by announcing their return to a major record label a 1 cd deal with a record company that is not your normal record company why did you get it right? Clive Davis and I sat down and talked about creating an artist record label deal that was actually a deal I'm not constrained by any necessity I think all artists should be under deals Lenny Kravitz for example a friend of mine and we went through During the time, she spent a lot of time talking about an album that we would do together, but you know that he is still in the plantation, so when he comes to the north, yes, we will need and can do something for him, about to divorce Maite and in a At a crossroads in his career, Prince sought to lighten the load of self-publishing and signed a one-album deal with industry heavyweight Clive Davis at Arista Records Davis had been busy rehabilitating Carlos Santana's career with Supernatural, an album that became a record-breaking multi-platinum sensation.
He spotted an opportunity to start something similar with Prince and offered the artist an advance of $11 million plus the property. from his master for Raven to the joy fantastic to come out on Arista on its November release however Raven to the joy fantastic performed poorly with the lead single the greatest romance ever sold only reaching number 63 on the chart Prince blamed it all less to the work itself accusing Clive Davis of breaking his promises and not promoting the album properly when Prince dropped the doll of Raven to the Jorah fantastic in 1999 again the model with which he begins to work at this time and had done so with the emancipation that went on uses this package distribution deal to get Prince to sign a one-off album to the label so they can use their influence to essentially get it into stores and get it out, but all the recording costs and all the production costs and things that Prince would assume himself what it would mean is nothing would belong to the label no recording cost methylate he would have nothing to get back p Because Prince hadn't paid all the money himself but they would have the manufacturing with means of distribution to be able to get to be able to do a high profile release so he's kind of taking advantage of the bigger structure having a major label and China of using loans to get it into stores one of the problems he had when he was releasing stuff on mpg and this came out with the couple's new solo album at the same time he had side projects from Larry Graham and Chaka Khan and he was running into problems to try to bring them to the stores and what the Records heiress wants.
Outside of this, there's an opportunity to be a part of a great artist's renaissance because they put out a Santana record to become the biggest record in the world, but the Santana record was a very Craven commercial record where the artist heard the recording. ord company step by step step by step copy album is an album the copies made took to a record company and they said if you want we can do business together so now he did it on his own terms some purposes, it's not some wimpy commercial record, it's not their best or worst record it's not a particular price point it's no big deal that an artist reaches a point in their career where they're only relevant to the die-hard fan base and the phenomenon of buying their new music is not the same as buying a ticket to see them perform and when you go to see them perform, if you're a true fan, you can put up with them playing two or three new songs, but basically you're going to hear the songs they did famous and that's what you want to hear and it's just nature that's how it works so just because the record didn't sell through the roof is not necessarily a statement that the record isn't good enough or not it was promoted correctly and interestingly in his recently published book which is a big thick book in which Clive Davis talks about almost every record he's had anything to do with, he doesn't talk about brave.
I have to ask Clive what that means, but it's a glaring omission, so there's something about it that didn't quite sit down. Well that's for sure with his status as an elite chart-topping act The Vanishing Prince turned his back on the mainstream He returned to the project of realizing artistic freedom in cyberspace In 2001 he launched the MGP music club a site Innovative subscription website through which he issued smaller, more experimental records to a dedicated fan base, the MGP music club is something of the pinnacle of Princes' vision if you like everything he's been working on since leaving Warner Brothers. , it's a subscription based site and I think the subscription started at $100 and got canceled at 25 when the Prince release rate dropped but the idea was that fans would sign up for the music club and in return they would get priority concert seats that would get exclusive music club merchandise, get CDs ever since, every time Prince had a new album instead of having to release it in stores, he is giving it directly to the fan base directly to the people who want it and they would also get music downloads from it also it was showing up on their computer and this is exodus album new power generation second album terrible album how is this is something what I was talking about on that record saying yeah I think there's a lyric or a spoken word that says you know you need to be contract free if you know if you could download your music to your listeners computer or something and all these Years later, that's what he's doing, it's the great combination of everything he's worked on to be able to cut out the middleman, cut a Prince's record label from one side of the screen, his friends from the other side, and everything comes straight to them.
Now, tell me about the club MGP music how does this work but you have to ask for it yes sorry by dialing w w DG newzik club comm you can get access to new music as well as preferential seating in concert s, awesome, how do I become a preferred customer? Freeze early online efforts were actually very strong when they worked, which not always technologically, I mean, but they were, I don't know if I would say visionary, but they were very forward-thinking in terms of building a community of artists. has been very, very successful with that in recent years, especially as it was quite ahead of its time, fans who weren't signed up for that would have missed the one night solo piano album, which is a lovely little record and quite It's hard to get out of now, I think these audio n PG shows, you know, it's kind of a fact, online radio shows that are online singles and things like that, and it seemed like a new stream of print material for people who wanted. i t instead of having to engage in sharp battles and things like that, and I think FEMA was successful, Prince was leading the way for this and pioneering and he'll find out in a few years when he starts his musicology download store.
I think he even opened that online download store before the iTunes Store even started in a matter of months, you're talking, but still, Princes just goes to show that Prince, business-wise, is really aware of what's going on, he really understands how. This thing works after you have established the Music Club. Prince released a new studio album initially through the club and later to general sale titled Rainbow Children and released in November 2001, it accompanied a series of changes in the lives and identity of the artists almost unnoticed by the general public. the infamous symbol had been removed and Prince had reverted to his original name, he had also come out as a Jehovah's Witness and been gradually introduced to the faith b and his spiritual mentor, Larry Graham, over the course of the late 1990s, in fact , On New Year's Eve 2001, Prince married his new partner, Manuela, witnessing the knee in a Jehovah's Witness ceremony.
Larry Graham taught me a lot. Larry, could you get up? but I have been musically and then when I met him he has taught me a lot about the truth the artist unites us great to have you here happy holidays I don't celebrate holidays but thank you very much well it's a pleasure to have you here at At this time of year the more I study the Bible with the help of Diagram and some of my good friends, I realize that the resentments I held weren't really directed at them, as it was the idea of this thing, like I said, called entropy.
We are getting to the point where the truth is being lost in the music. I was discussing this with Larry today. We were discussing the word inspiration and where we think it originated from and ultimately you know you came back. Your father can inspire you. and T So that and your father, his father inspired him and his father may have inspired him, we should get to Adam and eventually Adam had a father when you get the inner call to do something and you know you're being inspired by God and you. I kind of know you better answer that call or suffer the consequences Do you think this too was inspired by God I think so, Children of the Rainbow was a musical exploration of the Jehovah's Witness religion and perhaps inevitably a polarized opinion when the rainbow children came out interesting a short time because he prints for the first time in years now he's called Prince again and I think you can see it as one he has as an album but he's so dear to his heart that it's an exploration and the celebration of the Jehovah's Witness faith, so it's no surprise that he calls himself Prince again.
This is the furnace with which he will return. I think it's their most artistically successful album of the new millennium. He has made that recording. Ordering album has been just as satisfying a listen as a full album the problem is unless you're a Jehovah's Witness believer for sure it's a real turn off because they are the hardest aspects of his fame but he had the collection of songs more interesting than me. I didn't like the annoying, what I thought was kind of annoying storytelling, transitions between the songs and some of the controversial politics in some of the lyrics touching on religion etc, creating a successful piece of art after years as you know, trying. to chase trends or chase you know what's going to sell this is an album that doesn't care about sales it cares about what Prince wants to say and you can feel that on the album but lyrically this concept about you know it's the unique about the story about faith by Jarvis Witness, she's got this slowed-down voice like a god, Susan Marin's narrator, which is a little heavy lyrically and you have to actively shut it down part unless you're totally into it, you have to actively turning your brain off for that kind of part and just hurting yourself for what it is and the music is fantastic and it's an album that should definitely be discovered more of what it is looks like the jehovah witness album but most yes about fanatic fans anyone who knows oh he's the one we need to get over but really it's just fantastic fantastic work the rainbow children failed to make any impression on audiences.
The awareness and trend continued over the next few years as Prince released a succession of niche albums through the music club that anyone beyond the subscriber list would have barely noticed. A high-profile revival came in 2004 with an extravagant performance at the Grammy Awards, where Prince performed a medley of hits alongside Beyonce, the show was hailed as a dazzling comeback and critics hailed the stage artistry and musicianship as show business staff. ity Prince suddenly found himself back in the spotlight after years of invisibility. Nostalgia follows cycles. An artist has to go away for a while to be missed and Princes. or that didn't isolate him to some degree no record label no promotion enough years had passed since the battles with Warner Brothers and all the weird stuff he was saying and he was back and accessible and on TV and there he was at the Grammys with Beyonce taking her own thing, you know her music was coming back in a lot of ways there, she gets to a point with an artist where greatness no matter how weird she's behaved, noIt doesn't matter how many bad recordings you've made.
I've put his greatness becomes undeniable and that's when you start looking back you see it The fact is that anyone who cares to know acknowledges that Prince is one of the most brilliantly gifted, if not the most influential in rock. stars of the last 40 years, there's no doubt that younger artists, particularly in the realm of black music, basically love him as a mentor as someone who opened doors for them incorporating rock and other elements into music. He arguably changed music and what was expected and appropriate for a young black artist to do and he's an icon for anyone who cares about that kind of thing, so the fact that he has that kind of of influence and for someone to have a huge hit is contemporary like Beyonce would give that kind of touch on stage in public is a smart move because it reminds the casual fan of their iconic status that they have seen as this huge revival of a kind where he's been for so long oh my gosh look at him and there's kind of a certain Las Vegas II look to that performance but he totally nailed it he looks so good in his purple suit he's with Beyonce you know they swap each other and you know it's kind of a short slot on the Gram.
Mys, it's kind of a fantastic comeback to show that he's a huge hit machine, remind people of these hits in the first place and then set up for one of the biggest hits of his career. Prince capitalized on the Grammys performance by holding a press conference announcing an upcoming musicology album and accompanying tour, also opposing talk of a comeback, noting that both album and tour were never gone. musicology rose to No. 3 on the Billboard chart and was nominated for five Grammy Awards, while the tour was the number one concert draw of the year, giving Prince his longest run of concerts since Purple.
Rain and drew an estimated 87 million talking comebacks, Prince played two sold-out shows at the Air Canada Center last week and concertgoers received his Ozzy secular music CD and were entertained for over two and a half hours of new songs and of course classic hits you buy any m merchandise the album the album is very good it gets the respect it deserves no of course not because again this is this moment where people are finding out that what they want from Prince is this amazing live moment and in a way you can blame them you know there's a musicology, it's a great Prince album, well I have a great Prince album actually, I have six live businesses and recorded music businesses, not just because people can get the recorded music for free, but because the live business is sometimes referred to as a perishable experience, you know a little business term you don't hear much, Unless he's in the music business or the live sports entertainment business, anything that's a live moment, he considers it a perishable experience because if you're there, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and when Prince is At the Grammys, people notice that I'm not showing up at their next concert.
I might miss this performing his greatest hits live from him for the last time. ime in overwhelming demand two shows have been added on May 24 at Anaheim Arrowhead Pond and May 26 at Staples Center don't wait get your tickets now at Ticketmaster Ponds Parks office collect by phone or outside line buy a ticket get the new cd printed for free friends who realized maybe a turning point with things maybe he just tired of a very small number of people caring what he was doing and when he was playing the older songs at their shows, he was probably struck by the difference in reaction, so the 2004 tour was actually very interesting because you had both old songs and some new ones and it was the kind of classic model you see with a lot of artists today. in day.
He hadn't been playing the hits on a big stage for a long time, so the 2004 tour was in many ways a comeback tour, he played new material on those dates and it was like when you go to see the Rolling Stones, it's like you know they played miss you and everyone jumps out of their seats and played they say okay here's a new song and every body takes a bathroom break there was a lot of it it was a hugely successful tour he put a lot of money in his pocket, I think he got a lot of his swagger back, and he just looked great, sounded great, and people. he realized how much he had been missed, and by broadcasting a lot of those old songs, he was able to let people know how much they had missed him.
Prince gave away copies of the album with concert tickets as he sought to maximize revenue from his shows for his lasting satisfaction. The results of the move drew howls of protest from major record labels, but it also sparked an industry-wide shift from CDs to concerts. As the top earner for artists with the release of musicology in 2004, Prince went back to a major label again, this time Columbia to introduce them to the P and D D or unique deal with b But this time he came up with a deal interesting and they would put it in stores, but he would be allowed to put it out through his website, music in musicology record store, which launched a kind of download store which was a huge success for him, but also gave it away with tickets for the musicology tour and Nestlé, where it starts to get interesting for musicology and impressions because what happened was Nielsen SoundScan ended up having to count those giveaway tickets because there was a purchase because someone had given money and they got the album in exchange, they ended up having to count those giveaway tickets as sales, they did from the day musicology walked into the store too, but what it meant was that the album, from r Suddenly, it reached number three on the chart. and it became a smash hit for copies when you really know it hadn't had a chance of success in a long time, the rules were made by people who don't really play music so I think some of them need to be rewritten, otherwise In fact, I think SoundScan has already changed the way they're going to account for other bands in the future that used the same strategy here, but they've been protected by musicology, well, to a certain extent, we have the whole truth.
SoundScan hasn't really counted all the albums that have been sent out to concert goers and the album is included in the ticket price and we get paid for album sales at the same time there's about 450,000 copies that they haven't counted so what a brilliant stroke of luck if nothing else because suddenly he had a record that qualified for a chart hit those qualified for the billboard sales quickly changed that afterward they never thought it was brilliant to use Columbia to manufacture and distribute the CD but that's all tell me a little bit about the role of record labels well for real artists like me.
I'm trying to make a career out of this, so I don't want to just have one album and then walk out of here. ung acts are dealt with these days and the record companies are okay with that because then they get a disposable quick fix out of these youngsters and then move on to the next one, they also don't have to do long term deals which means the act is going to make a lot more money than just putting out your first record the situation I have with Sony is unique in that they respect my career and understand that it's important that we own the work so there's no problem with that and they've just been beautiful in every sense.
It doesn't really matter whether or not the arm will be a commercial success or what's on it in this case because it's less about the new album, princess. I'm not going to play big dinner songs anyway, he's going to play the hits again, then it's all about getting people to come see him live and so instead of changing his new music, he starts changing his show. Live. which is that he's always had a fantastic live show but he really starts to push that, I mean what do you see in the future not long after this you get this whole concept of 360 deals and you would get major artists to sign with tour promoters rather than record labels because the feeling is starting to get the artists are going to make their money through the live show and they're going to make that money through the merchandise sold at the counters they're going to make money changes through ticket sales are no longer going to make their money through a new album release and people start doing it you know they are musicians they have to put out a new album they just want to at least have the appearance of Being relevant in today's market will still seem like they're not necessarily old acts, but they're all really starting to adapt their business model around touring and printing co n musicology, that counts as ticket sales, you know, milk, some had to change the way they counted these things. s after he rocked the business again I mean the title of the tour said it all about musicology and it was going back to music as the focal point which at the end of the day is what would save him from the tour because he had been before playing theaters and trying hard to fill them up and all of a sudden he's back in arenas and he's stayed there ever since so I think the musicology tour was kind of a wake up call for him that if you pay a little bit more attention to music and less attention to bells and whistles the people will come prince was moved to cement his recent rise in popularity with a new studio album in 2006 during the 3121 sessions he took back on former members of the new generation of power to help assemble a collection of songs that would recall their classic sound when drummer Michael Bland and bassist Sonny T arrived to start recording to find their former bandleader was now operating. ing carefully as an experienced business executive thanks for c Even though everyone is a slave I don't consider Universal a slave ship, first of all the situation with Universal is similar to Sony and so much so that I made my own Okay, it wasn't a contract I don't believe in. contracts and I did my own deal without the help of a lawyer and I sat down and got exactly what he wanted to achieve his goals that he was trying to achieve we had sort of made an arrangement because I don't think he knew how many songs he really wanted to record or you know what was going to happen to any of them, so you know we literally had a formal agreement on how I think he became more aware of how the business works and I think for his own protection. and to be able to show the practicalities, we literally had a contractual agreement before we played it, no, and there was a sum of money, and it was really nice, and we recorded probably 11 great songs, I mean, you know the sound was very tight you know what I want to say You know his guitar playing had gone to another level since he last played with me.
You know that the most you can hope for is to be better than you were two or three years ago. working on your craft, I mean, if you get to the point where you just stop and you're just a novelty, you know it's time to be a record executive at that point, so it's still constantly growing and changing and the way that i see it's not a perfect album it's not even a classic album really but it's the best of that bunch it's the one where he seems like he's putting a little more effort into it you know putting a little more effort into it , he's totally swapping his past with him, he's calling and time records response reasons to launch at the end of lolita he's, you know, black sweaters pretty cool little clue but he really pulled in it's like he's another French track, but he's done the kind of thing many times before you've got a song on there th The dance, which is one of the highlights of it, but which came from you would have discovered that earlier on the invasion album of chocolate says an old song that he reworked and we recorded for this record, so it's not like Prince came up with a modern Prince album, yeah that's right, it's the most amazing album ever, but to me is the most successful of those.
I think 3121 was Prince's first album to debut at number one and confirmed his return to the mainstream. Garlic's string of performances included a Las Vegas residency and the Super Bowl halftime show performing the hits under his new status as a timeless American icon. just a few weeks later he shut down the MGP music club and announced that he was temporarily retiring from the web. I think Prince gave in to his legendary status I think he probably did at the beginning of this millennium I think it happened with the 2004 tour when he started airing the hits again and I think he just decided not necessarily to stop but not exclusively bang his head against the wall trying to gethis new material to any audience that would listen to it all of those things contributed to those being the biggest stages for an artist the grammys the superbowl the greatest superbowl performance of all time that's good c'mon if it doesn't feel good steel i can play this guitar, it's hard to imagine that ever, being tough, he was in his prime, he knew dozens or hundreds of millions of people were looking at him and he just was absolutely phenomenal, he got five million dollars to play Coachella, all that stuff is accepting them. and playing in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and stealing the show, okay, Prince has always been one of the best guitarists of the rock era, but because he does so many other things that people don't really realize He tells that they really established him there, even the guys onstage with him, you see them watching him play and they're like damn, all of those things were him finally embracing his legendary status and not shying away from it and with a signature style.
Prince used this legendary status to once again push the boundaries of accepted business practice. In July 2007, he released another new record, planet Earth, for free on the front page of Britain's The Mail newspaper. On Sunday, the draw was linked to an upcoming residency at London's O2 arena. By the time both the 21 nights at the o2 and subsequent shows at club indigo 2 sold out, Prince had established another new model for the live performance market and reconsidered the role of albums within the context of artist revenue, a lot of the songs on planet earth is very relaxing to me, so to me it represents a time when i felt a lot of peace, a lot of calm, of course, a lot of spirituality, a lot of it was really melodic.
I remember being on stage at our first o2 soundcheck and one of the songs we were singing we were rehearsing and I got lost in the song I closed my eyes and missed part of the choreography transition and looked up and opened my eyes and there he was on that big stage standing right next to me like I said oh god I'm sorry he said you really like that I said yeah other territories now the cool stuff that part of that deal included Sony distribution in the United Kingdom. and they didn't seem to be involved in this at all they didn't know what was going to happen so all of a sudden Prince's new album is a giveaway in the paper and there was outrage it was unbelievable because people were saying in a I'll tell you what covers are put together for years this was the first time a new album was delivered as a cover not an old catalog piece so one side of the industry was samuel cheapen music if you're just going to give away the new music you know the industry is what it is.
It's not dire straits as it is, you can't just give this away. However, Prince's argument and what he claims he told Sony was good. I just hit 300,000 people in one day. album on the first day of sales he would say no you weren't the prince it was a smash hit he has a new album for as many people as you can mail problem sold dispersed second best selling problem they I've had ever below Diana's death so you know Avery was kind of a win-win for everyone and I think the princes estimated they made between £200 and £500k on this newspaper deal which is probably more than any progress.
First of all, he would have gotten the one-off deal for the record label record and Prince handed him over again with tickets, you know, well, I'm a ticketed highway to his twenty-one night adventure in London, so get started. to see again that he's using my new album for dru i'm building interest in his long term london residency and that's where the real money is coming in at the moment because it's been 21 nights since he's not moving in. he was totally elated and we're happy because we only had one place we didn't have to move so we had apartments there and he dressed the Indigo up to look like Paisley Park with all its beautiful furniture and candles and incense and they created an environment for us there it was fun there was a lot of fun you know that to him he loved what he does obviously but it's a business for him it was an opportunity for him to just go and basically turn his playhouse into something that's like a kingdom he can actually sell fun and of course he doesn't make any money after printing OT residency start charging several million dollars for one-off appearances at Coachella private parties, things like that and you really get the feeling that the prince as an artist maybe he's less interested in being an artist nowadays he was more interested in putting on live events that he knows will get sales merchandise sales are really seeing that money get it the music industry right now is essentially a live industry the recorded music industry continues to struggle the live music industry struggled several years ago but right now it is enormously healthy and artists of Prince's stature could tour if they wanted year after year for four Years playing the hits, Prince's approach to becoming the world's biggest independent artist was just that.
In subsequent years, he continued to emphasize live performance while looking for ways to experiment with a new business model. In 2009, he broke from the one-album pattern. He deals with a record label and has released a new album, Lotus Flower, under an exclusive deal with the retail target, eliminating the major label's distribution infrastructure. in a further attempt to market their music on the internet but neither the album nor the website generated much enthusiasm from the public a year later, another new record was published again in 2010 as a newspaper cover, but was unable to replicate the success of Planet Earth as suspicions grew that Prince was pursuing commercial goals at the expense of artistic quality.
In 2013, a more promising project emerged when Prince announced the formation of a new band, Third Eye Girl, and a new artistic vision began to take shape. things that in the new artistic side of things, I think the Warner Brothers thing scarred him, obviously, and yes, part of the argument is that they were suffocating him as an artist, but I think it's also pretty clear from his actions that Part of the The reasoning behind this was that they were also receiving more money than they should for their work. It's interesting to see what he does next because he has this third eye girl project. right now, which is one of the most interesting things he's done in a long time and instead of just being you know how to produce the hits like you've heard the hits for years and years and years, he did it for the better part of a decade. now he's got some sort of three piece girl power trio behind him, kind of hit and miss stuff, but at least he's trying again to find some kind of artistic interest when Prince went on tour with the girl with the third eye, the Issues that he first faced two decades earlier continued to concern the music business, artists' rights, the digital economy, and how to commodify art in the 21st century have now become major concerns facing musicians and artists in across the spectrum of popular culture what was first seen as a fringe feud between a superstar and his paymaster has proven to be the opening storyline in a much broader conflict and imprints a much misunderstood visionary leading thinker the post music industry -millennial well it always takes one it takes one person to stand up and say this is wrong and I won't take it if you take it ere He's an idiot, you know, and I think Prince tragically ended up being that figure without anyone really understanding, you know, and having the position. on his own small tract of land and stating that many people could not identify themselves.
I don't think it's probably a precursor to a situation like Napster had with Metallica, where you know you get these, you know, you know, you know, these bloated rock stars: Hey, man, you know we got 80 million dollars, which we're supposed to have you know 200 million dollars because you guys are stealing our music and you know somehow you didn't do it you know often when the rich wouldn't make us think about something people are skeptical and sometimes they are right to be and sometimes I feel like the business world will catch up with him and recognize the things he tried.
He was a canary in a coal mine for a lot of things that are going to be interesting resting to see how history looks back on his business endeavors because he's tried just about everything I think people have learned that they can do it themselves and that you don't have to depend on another person to fulfill your dreams and the real problem is that what people don't realize or don't know is that Prince plays music because he loves to play music is that it's for love it's for love for it can be a one of the most generous people you've ever met you can also be cunning and scary but the music is about love he has found a place of comfort that he seems comfortable with that works for him and if you want to go back to measuring success in terms of numbers , the tickets that he sells are phenomenal and certainly suggest that the world that big recognizes the icon that reinvents himself huge talented talented performer which is I think in some way the fact that he doesn't t Having to pretend to compete with the jay-z of the world really puts him in a place where it might be the best years of his career.
He left the women by the stripes in the road. Oh great you. The history of prints and prints and Warner Brothers is very interesting because prints are the real example of what Warner Brothers considered themselves. dealing with that is artist development even though the prints weren't exactly the artist they were thinking of when they created that philosophy in the '60s and '70s the way Warner Brothers worked was we wanted to sign geniuses and give them space to develop as geniuses and if they are successful, that is very good. signed as a teenager to a fairly rich and somewhat extravagant by today's standards multi-album deal. he is crazy. he has not shown that he lives in Minneapolis. he makes a type of music that generally doesn't sell that.
A lot can do well on the R&B charts, but at the time Prince is signed in the '70s. Michael Jackson is still a kid. It is not thought that it will be the great success of pop. It becomes the relationship. between Prince and Warner Brothers it was never warm and fuzzy in the sense that it was never the type of artist that would drop by the office and just hang out or work in the building, as we used to say from a promotional marketing sense, walk and go flowers to the receptionist and flirting with the assistants and I mean he wasn't that guy there were a lot of artists who did that and they understood the advantage it gave them and the motivation it brought to the people who worked on the label on their behalf that was something which the Prince had absolutely no interest in, he may have at least grudgingly understood the need to do so and just felt that this is what I hire you for, go work in the building, do whatever you have to do, I don't care what they do I have to do I don't care how you do it you don't even need to tell me about it I make music I don't do that I don't think I have a very long attention span friends can get bored very easily so I think that was probably part of the conflict between him and Warner Brothers is actually you have a person who is vital who was interested in getting ideas right away because if they sit for too long they're going to die on the line and as an artist I can completely understand that but you know I can see the side of a corporation going well wait a minute we have the other 13 other 1,300 artists that we have to deal with in this period of time and we only have so many minutes a week and so I think you know it's a situation where, I mean, eventually they were going to having to split up because French was just starting and they said, well, what do we do with that?
You know, Prince was prescient and way ahead of his time when it came to understanding the effect the digital age would have on the music industry, you have to understand that this was a guy who was already looking for alternative means to market and promote music to the public. because he was so dissatisfied with the old business model that we had a ting meeting and this would have been 1990 1991 when he called me and it was after he had delivered a record to Warners and he was frustrated that they were in no rush to put out another record again on the subject that once again it became the fact that he was too prolific and delivered Warner's product too quickly and in his frustration he was expressing to me, you know we have to find another way to get music to the public, actually, what if we go to late-night TV and I liked these packages of old music that people sell and we actually market a record on our own label to the public and we sold it by mail.
We just do TV commercials late at night and people write to thePost whatever and we sell it. through the mail and I said yeah that's great except for one problem you're in contract to go to one of the others you can't legally do that ok then it will be your label you do it and we a different name on it instead of prints we'll put it t something else and I said yeah but they're not going to print they're not going to sit back and let you do that if you run a business you can't let that happen so put your Warner hat on for a minute pretend you're mine Ostin, what would you do?
You will obtain a cease and desist and legally prevent us from doing so. I am doing it right. I do not care. We have to do it then. president of a record label that's a joint venture I can't they're going to put me in jail I can't be a part of it put it on my label I create a label I can't do it right then put it on your wife's name we'll call him Glenn record that he was serious and then i knew he was going to find some way to beat the system even if it wasn't legally acceptable he was going to go further and of course that became npg records it became the record he made for the that ended up coming out and npg under the name of the band that was really a prince record that Warner had rejected, I think when Prince changed his name to certainly damage his public image, you always have a fundamental fact, a group of fans that will follow him wherever he wants go, but then you have a larger audience that had a lot of highlights. what he was talking about when it came to artist rights when it came to things you know owning your master takes one of the things he kept repeating over and over again with the misleading imagery of slavery is if you don't own of your masters your masters own new which means if he didn't own his master tapes the Warner brothers would always have but all these salient points about artist rights and an artist's freedom to create and perform their work to the public were lost. the name change in the insults between him and Warner and they weren't, you know, kind of typical impressions, it wasn't explained well enough for people to really understand what he was trying to differentiate from the scenario where it was more of a rant , but the traces are kind of showing over and over again through lovesexy and other projects that he has high level concept ideas that he doesn't necessarily explain clearly enough for people to really understand what he's getting at. silly now i get he was promoting himself as the victim but somehow the guy you know like i said he is the only slave who owned the plantation he wasn't a victim he was a guy who had sold millions and millions and millions of records through a record company that had indulged him with projects that were in some cases crazy and endorsed him, indulged him in making movies that possibly shouldn't have been made i.e. graffiti bridge and if they had benefited from it of course they're in business but oh my gosh it's like he's not a slave his definition of a slave was someone who doesn't own his own masters the fact is that from the start of the times, equity master recordings and in the recording industry, record companies pay all the costs that go into creating those records, their reason for existing is to sell the product, if not s With product owners, they cannot exist now, I understand that this is outdated. business model that business model is now obsolete that's why there are downloads that's why there are self-produced records the digital age has changed all that and I understand it and I don't even want to discuss the morality of that maybe there should be maybe there should be been a rule for years and years saying that after 10 years the ownership of a master goes back to the artist i could live with that but having worked for labels i understand that until the digital age you needed a label it was the only way to saturate the market and take your music to the radio, to the media, to the public, an artist couldn't do that and if you will have to use these people to do it for you and distribute the product to professionally manufacture and distribute it to record stores in efficiently and then they have to get paid and if they're going to survive as an industry then they have to have some capital and the only capital was their artists' contracts and the mae stros so the argument that every artist should own all of their masters in perpetuity doesn't make any sense it just doesn't make mathematical sense if you want that label to meet your needs they have to get something in return negotiating with Warners on 92 heads and played a role in my departure from Paisley Park because clearly Prince and I disagreed with where Paisley parked the tag.
It wasn't so much about how much I would love for him to get everything he could. you can get the most successful profitable lucrative endorsement deal you could get My fear was that the endorsement part was eroding I don't think he really cared about that because he was incredibly frustrated with Paisley everyone was frustrated with Paisley Park for the label but I think that at first Prince seemed like he might have brought the goods, he had so many successful side projects and there was a period where you know Prince was recording so many full length albums, albums that weren't even released that were full of great material, he had so much going on. making it almost seemed like you knew it was never going to run out, so you could understand that Warner Brothers wanted in on this as well and funded the label to encourage more of these.
Big Seam Projects Coming Out There's a point where time record time records really challenged Prince's own records on the R&B charts, but kind of a fortuitous data set as time went on, I think Warner Brothers realized what a dog Daisy Park was turning out to be and they tried to keep him happy they gave him a new office they gave it to them they hired staff for him but Prince didn't even go into this office space they gave him what kind of shows how much disinterested was Prince Creating it as a label you know Prince at the time was a musician and he had ideas of a musician where from his point of view everything in the late eighties would pay for a mistake, he wasn't really interested in running a record label at the time or certainly don't run one how they run pretty bad we were all frustrated and rightfully so but what I kept pointing out to Prince was this is a joint venture, we have a responsibility to try to satisfy the other side of the joint in this Warner's case and in his mind that was kind of like, oh, now you're there for them and I say no, it's not contradictory, it shouldn't be.
I realized that sometimes it's on a practical level because we can say this record should be promotion and they can say it doesn't deserve it, that's contradictory, but as a company as a mindset as a business model, you can't approach it as an adversary because they are their partners and they are inescapably their partners so if we're going to move forward we have to stick it out ja find a way to work together and i know it sounds very simplistic but it's the truth it's just a fundamental truth and you know that , as an artist, he didn't really want to hear that and I understood that about him so it was like you know what this is not going anywhere this label is not going to work because you're not going to give them the kind of product they want from it , they are inescapably our partners in this and we have understood that it became very clear that we had completely different concepts of what the business model should be for Paisley Park records and as a result the joint venture ta was doomed to fail. future because at the end of the day he wasn't with them, he was with him and he was worried about how that would play out and how it would affect him and because of his own contract renegotiation those concerns for Paisley Park Records kind of got pushed to the back burner. changes that were happening at Warner Brothers in the early 90s and came to a head in the mid 90s was a power struggle at the top Warner Brothers had been the ultimate boutique label for a couple of decades since he late the 60's early 70's under President Lawston who was older I think he was an accountant actually originally for Frank Sinatra in the 50's but Moe turned out to be possibly the most amazing best and most effective if not necessarily the most successful record label president in history Warner Brothers had all the culture of it, they were very artist friendly and they only had success after him hit after hit after hit, I mean Fleetwood Mac's Tusk or, sorry, Mac's fluent rumors were, at the time, top sellers. record in history the eagles greatest hits was also a warner release that was the biggest selling release in history but mostly due to egos i would say there was a power struggle going on at warner brothers where the three Labels were Warner Brothers Elektra at Atlantic and ultimately over the next two years the CEO of Atlantic was promoted above Moe Austin and Mo wouldn't take it so this turned out to cost the label millions and millions and millions of dollars. dollars over the next three years or so and I would say it never really recovered and it's very sad because they had the most successful record company in the world and they basically destroyed it.
It's interesting to know that when Warner Brothers started releasing print material after the prints had left the label, there tends to be some correlation between when Prince put out his own project and when Warner Brothers put out his project, so when Prince released emancipation under the Symbol name Warner Brothers released Chaos and Disorder, a kind of album of the Volks that the prince had left them under the name of Prince to try to challenge the system. mbol brand natal and Prince launch Ravan to fantastic joy Warner Brothers released old french selling album from the vault and another Volks compilation and they tried to challenge what Prince is doing and you could also see they were better off so 93 they released the best of the first and it gets a lot of rave reviews that everyone is talking about I think one quote was how this isn't just a world of pop it's a whole galaxy of pop cements Prince's career shows all the great things he's done done and it takes attention away from the new stuff he's trying to promote new stuff he's trying to put out again they did it back in 2006 with the last pressings coming out at the same time as the Prince ed 3121 album coming out on Universal so you can see Kind of Warner Brothers princes doing something they're trying to do something, maybe distract or at least sort of ride the coattails of whatever Prince is doing.
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