Nobody is the boss of Prince

princeUK record store owners are pissed off at the news (actually it might still be a rumor) that Prince will be giving away his new record for free in the British Daily Mail as a "covermount." This is in addition to his plans to include free copies of Planet Earth with tickets to his upcoming 21-show London residency. The spin on this is that the people at Prince's label (Sony BMG's UK arm) aren't any more psyched about this than the British record retailers. The Guardian has the story, but if you're not a registered member, Idolator has a good summary.

Two points I think are important. The first is a question: Why the hell is Prince still working with a major label? I would argue (and I am) that he could move the same number of records on an indie, and they'd probably give him a lot less grief. Hell, a guy like Prince has the resources to do it all himself, and it seems like he kinda wants to anyway.

Second: The ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association) is all bark and no bite here. Prince doesn't need to sell another CD as long as he lives, and he's clearly not losing any sleep over chart positions. It's no secret to anyone that the live business is where the money's at these days, and Prince's live revenues in particular are through the roof (see here, here).

Regardless of whether or not the ERA thinks Prince owes them anything, he doesn't seem to think he does. They need him a lot more than he needs them, and crying about it isn't going to make it any better.

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