The Music Internet Like It's 1999

Prince is nuts.

He’s on something or he’s in denial.

Or he is a more savvy businessman than his ridiculous public comments give him credit for.

Prince recently told the Daily Mirror over in the UK that “The Internet’s completely over”.

Thank God he finally shared that with us. I was under the false impression that Apple was selling mobile devices as fast as they could make them partially to access the Internet on the go.

Now I’m going to have to make my iPhone and iPad into ash trays – and I don’t even smoke!

Of course, Prince is no different than most of the music executives he loathes. He may say the Internet is over but the four major label execs wish it were over. That’s close enough.

Let’s get back to the days of CDs.

Hey, vinyl is coming back.

In the embarrassing example of a great artist who should keep his mouth shut except when he sings, Prince is going to stop downloads entirely for his next album and plans to put his money where the fish go, in a newspaper, by reverting back to the tactic of stuffing a CD in copies of the Daily Mirror.

Seems like Prince is irked because the starving artist can’t get an advance from his starving record label so he’ll just give away the CDs.

Prince is one sly fox.

Have you been following the demise of the concert touring business – what I tipped you about a long time ago? The last bastion of a healthy music industry is headed for life support.

No wonder Prince comes up with stuff like:

"The Internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

That’s right, Prince. The Internet is like MTV.

See, Prince’s end game is to continue to make money touring and he has to know that those days are numbered. So, just like a Wal-Mart 15-minute special, Prince is giving away his music to get fans into buying concert tickets.

That train has left the station and is headed to the junkyard.

This summer has seen so many canceled concerts and trouble brewing for concert promoter Live Nation.

Prince demands fans remove photos of him from their personal sites and has threatened to sue YouTube and eBay.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the way Lady Gaga dresses for a Yankees game. She sure has street smarts and cred.

Gaga embraces the power of free as a promotional tool with free downloads and look-sees on video sites.

Prince embraces the questionable power of tabloid newspapers to give away his music recorded on yesterday’s technology.

Gaga encourages sharing while she then goes on to sell more entire albums and downloads than anyone else.

Prince spits in the face of YouTube and free-access sites.

My friend, the outstanding music industry analyst Steve Meyer, linked to a story where Prince’s contemporaries beg to differ with him.

Meyer said in a recent piece:

"Back in July 2007 Prince distributed his Planet Earth CD in the Sunday edition of London' Daily mail newspaper. Back then I wrote about here in the newsletter and said, "Sunday circulation of the Mail is estimated to be between 2 to 3 million. That means that's how many copies of Prince's new album will be distributed in one day. In essence, Prince sells a couple of million albums in one day. Not a bad day for the "Purple One" at all. The financial information about how much the Mail paid Prince for this deal was not disclosed, but I would imagine Prince got a nice big fat check”.

Ever get the feeling you’re being had?

Prince, who notoriously has been at odds with his labels (think “the artist formerly known as") is at it again.

Prince sells to the newspaper to distribute his CDs and they pay him to give away his CD as a loss leader. Then uses the wide exposure to promote his concerts.

The Internet is not over.

And Prince is not over.

What is over is the CD business and soon, the concert industry at the hands of folks like Live Nation.

It’s great to make fun of Prince when he says stupid things that we know are not true, but at the heart of it all is a hurting music industry that has been left to shrivel up by the big four labels.

The labels don’t get that free is their friend.

They don’t get that taxing radio will hurt them further.

That they are leaving money on the table by predator pricing of royalties for streaming services that could be generating more free interest that turns to sales.

That the concert business they promote but from which they do not benefit is not enough to keep big artists with them in the future.

That 360 deals are really 180 deals because music is now a commodity. Artists will not be able to look forward to careers with recording as their main effort and record labels are the least likely to have the skills to manage a singer or a band’s career.

Oh, and MTV isn’t dead.

It changed.

And that’s what the music industry must now do or face further erosion.

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