Prince yesterday announced he was launching his own music download platform called the Internet Musicology Download Store which will sell tracks from his catalogue of self-released albums, including new album 'Musicology'. The platform will follow the iTunes model - fans will be able to download albums
for $9.99 or individual tracks at 99 cents a go.
Prince is in an advantageous position because since he fell out with Warner
Music in 1996 he has self-released most of his subsequent material - selling CDs direct to fans via his website. This means he completely owns the rights to much of his recent music, enabling him to sell it direct to fans without involving record labels or publishers - and that includes new album Musicology which, although due to be distributed via Sony Music, has been produced at the artist's own expense.
Some in the American media are suggesting Prince's deal with Sony is a clever move to utilise the major's marketing machine to rekindle interest in his music, so he can then sell direct to fans via his website. If successful some reckon other established artists may look to self-release music and sell direct to fans via their own online music stores. Larry Katz in the Boston Herald comments: "Imagine new CDs by Eminem, Norah Jones, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce made available online at each artist's own website. After all the talk about illegal downloading destroying the music industry, it could be legal downloading that puts the big record companies out of business."