This is an article my boss just fowarded me...

Subject: OnlineSpin: Is Prince A Genius?
From: MediaPost Publications <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Is Prince A Genius?
By Cory Treffiletti

[IMAGE] As always, I like to scour the press to find new and innovative
methods for marketing your products and services.  Since my primary hobby
involves music, much of my press-time is devoted to the music industry,
which, as we all know, is in a rather dire situation. That's due to the
ongoing decrease in CD sales and the continual movement toward digital,
which makes it more difficult for the labels to make the margins they
were so used to in the past.  That being said, there is one artist who
continually finds new and interesting ways to get his albums into the
marketplace.  That artist is currently and once again for the foreseeable
future, named Prince.

Prince just released his 473rd CD (probably not that many, but the guy
does have an impressive catalogue of music) titled "Planet Earth."  From
the reviews I've seen, this album represents a return to form for his
purple majesty, but the way it was released is most interesting.  Prince
attached a copy of his new album to every issue of London's "Mail on
Sunday" on July 15, so that everyone who bought the paper also picked up
a copy of "Planet Earth."

According to the methodology that Soundscan uses to report album sales in
the U.S., that could translate to a very large number of sales in its
first week.  Soundscan is a product of the Nielsen company and is used in
the U.S. to track album sales and put together the album charts.  It only
works in the U.S. and Canada, so this little trick won't do it right now.
But the equivalent tracking in the U.K. should see some very interesting
sales numbers!

As can be expected, music retailers in the U.K. were not so pleased about
this and in retaliation, they've decided not to sell the new album.  I
guess that would be bad if actual album sales revenue mattered to the
only Prince not able to wear a crown in England.  If you remember a
number of! years a go, Prince sort of "went off the reservation" a bit
and changed his name to a symbol in protest of his label, Warner Bros,
which at the time, would not allow him to manage and distribute his music
the way he wanted.

Eventually his contract expired and Prince went indie, deciding to manage
his own development and distribution, and the results have been pretty
amazing.  Prince now is able to get his music into as many hands as
possible and still make a living!  He's launched a number of albums since
then, of which his last two efforts sparked minor hits (Musicology and
3121).  Musicology sparked a similar controversy because it ended up in
the top 10 for a number of consecutive weeks due to the genius marketing
idea that everyone who purchased a ticket to see Prince live also
received a copy of the CD.  Everyone with a brain knows that Prince is
one of the most incredible live acts on the planet, and his shows always
sell-out, so of course, the inevitable sales appeared to put Prince back
into the mainstream!

This was all capped by an amazing performance on the Super Bowl, where
Prince ripped out his usual numbers, as well as some numbers by Dylan and
the Foo Fighters.  Needless to say, people were impressed.

In an industry that is continually crying "foul" and complaining that
they cannot make money anymore, there is a ray of light that shines from
artists such as Prince, my all-time favorites Pearl Jam and
"I-write-way-too-many-albums-each-year" Ryan Adams.  These artists are
all independent, in some cases, working with labels only as a source of
distribution, but they use digital media and the numerous tools at their
disposal to do what they love -- create music -- in an efficient manner.
It allows them to make a comfortable living, meaning own a nice home and
a decent car.  They seem to be having fun, too!

So next time you hear about how the music industry is wasting away as a
result of digital medi! a, Visit to see what Prince is up
to.  Chances are, you'll see someone making quite a business for
themselves, and a model that should be hitting the labels squarely in the

And for more kicks, check out and and
see how other artists are using the Web to get their music out there.

Post your response to the public Online SPIN blog.

See what others are saying on the Online SPIN blog.

Cory Treffiletti is a managing partner at Catalyst: Strategy and

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