As much as we like to blame the RIAA for all the evils of the recording industry, leave it to my boy Prince to bring out the best in the execs over in the U.K. And mind you, these are music retailers, not even the people who, despite their extortionate ways, might actually have once helped an artist with production or distribution.
The Entertainment Retailers Association’s co-chairman Paul Quirk couldn’t help himself at an industry conference:
“It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores. And I say that to all the other artists who may be tempted to dally with the Mail on Sunday.”
So, what’s the transgression that made this guy lash out at Prince, and threaten “artists who may be tempted to dally”? Prince is giving away free CDs with the Mail on Sunday newspaper. Oh, the humanity! And he’s done this before, of course; His 2004 CD Musicology was given away for free at all of his concerts that year, though U.S. retailers were a lot more quiet with their grumblings. I do like that the tension between the death of the record industry and the decline in circulation of print has pitted these two behemoths against each other, however.
Keep in mind — this isn’t some low-level spokesperson for this industry group, this was the co-chairman of the organization, one of the guys in charge. Thus, when I read this story, I realized the only one who could possibly be cackling more loudly than me was Prince himself. Aside from performing, I think his greatest joy in life is to make stodgy old guys so mad they get flustered and start sputtering.
Oh, and the new album Planet Earth features the return of Wendy & Lisa and will probably actually have some good songs, too. I am tempted to dally with it.