The Artist Formerly Known as Successful

I love the fact that much of the music industry is up in arms about Prince opting to distribute his latest album free of charge in the UK as a newspaper cover mount. I love this quote even more


“The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores”

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The bottom line is that this is more a sad indictment of the state of Prince’s career than anything else. Remember, this is the guy who declared he would never record with a record label again and launched his own online subscription service. Only to come crawling back to a major as his audience dwindled.

The way he’ll see things is that this will give him a mass market exposure that an otherwise expensive ad campaign would probably struggle to do, and he gets paid for it. He’ll be more concerned about revenue from gigs, back catalogue and future sales, following an anticipated halo effect from the promotion. In reality though, he’ll be lucky to have such results. Prince is an 80’s artis and unlike 80’s artists such as Madonna and U2, his audience has not grown with him, nor has he opened up significant new audiences. A loosely targeted tactic such as this might have made sense when he was a mass market proposition, less so when he’s an 80’s has-been with bad hair.