The continued struggle between free music and the people who are trying to make money from selling music has a whole new battle brewing: Prince is apparently talking with the Mail On Sunday about cover-mounting his new album.
Yes, his new album. He wants to give it away for free.
No, we don't know why he's chosen the Mail to be his vessel - surely he doesn't think the average Mail reader crosses over with his target market? - but it's not the paper, it's the very idea:
"It would be an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career," ERA co-chairman Paul Quirk told a music conference. "It would be yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music."
"If it turns out to be the case - and we're still trying to get to the bottom of it - 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."
We love the suggestion that the record stores have, until now, been stocking records by one of the world's biggest selling artists as some sort of charitable endeavour, and not because they were selling them at a profit; and that they think that this puts Prince in their debt in some way.
It's sadly hilarious, though, that as an artist finds a way to make money off his music that doesn't involve record shops the record shop reaction is to throw the artist off their shelves. Because reducing your range even further is the way to tempt the customers in.
- Hello, record shop man - I was just enjoying this Prince CD I got free with my paper, and it made me decide to come and buy some of his other records. What have you got?
Record shop manager looks forlornly at smoldering remains of Prince's back catalogue