The Music Formerly Known as a CD

Is the record business getting more insane every day?

Is that possible?

Now Prince, the warrior who fought the good fight against the record labels back when they actually sold CDs is riling all of Europe with his latest marketing move. Prince's decision to giveaway his new album folded into British tabloid newspapers for free is not only ironic it is moronic.

A record artist who fought the system so vehemently that he became the artist formerly known as you-know-who is in bed with a medium that was once formerly known as prosperous. The newspaper business is still better in the U.K. than in the U.S. but it seems that only Rupert Murdoch wants to be in that business these days.

The chairman of the entertainment retailers over there said, "it is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career."


It's a compliment.

An artist having a hard time finding his groove again has decided to give away what nobody wants -- a CD.

And he's a man ahead of his time because a CD is what few in the next generation want.

Only in the music media can they raise a big stink about Prince trying another publicity stunt to sell something that he didn't want to sell when he was a slave to the labels.

Record industry observer Steve Meyer reminds us that Warner Music head Edgar Bronfman, Jr went on CNBC to say "This decline is steeper than we expected, but in some ways it means we'll get to the bottom faster, and after that there's growth."


You can't get to the bottom any faster than you got there by not doing anything.

Steve Jobs dictates the digital music rules these days. Universal Music can even threaten to withdraw their music from iTunes and Jobs continues to sleep well at night. You see, the iPod isn't just a music player. It's a hard drive, a picture album, a video player. And you know all about the version formerly known as --- a cellphone.

On the other hand, a record label is -- well, a record label is a record label. And there's no future in that right now.

Back to that little devil Prince.

When was the last time consumers lined up in front of record stores to buy any artist's CD. In fact, what's a record store? Remind me.

How can you get to the bottom any faster than suing your customers. And while Rome burns, the RIAA will have to answer a consumer's counter suit against the RIAA in defense of her 10 year old daughter accused of being a music pirate. This harassment suit is endemic of what will help drive the record business to the bottom even faster.

How can you hit rock bottom faster than not coming up with new artists and new genres of music to sell?

Maybe the record labels need to hire Prince to advise them on how to handle their non-digital obsession with the CD.

After all, the CD is dying and taking the labels with it.

So what's wrong with giving away music for free?

No, not the way Prince is doing it in the U.K. between the pages of a newspaper. But online -- where the next generation of record consumers live.

I think it's hilarious that they're up in arms in the U.K. over the Prince stunt.

Can't they see that soon you won't be able to give a CD away even in the pages of a newspaper.

Aren't there better uses for old newspapers?

Aren't there better business models for bringing music into the digital age?

Memo to record labels: deal with it and move on.

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