The Industry previously known as Music

Music industry attacks Sunday newspaper's free Prince CD

The eagerly awaited new album by Prince is being launched as a free CD with a national Sunday newspaper in a move that has drawn widespread criticism from music retailers.

One music store executive described the plan as "madness" while others said it was a huge insult to an industry battling fierce competition from supermarkets and online stores. Prince's label has cut its ties with the album in the UK to try to appease music stores.

The Entertainment Retailers Association said the giveaway "beggars belief". "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.

"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."

(The other hilarity aside... there's a covermount culture?)

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24 Responses:

  1. xinit says:

    There is in the UK at least; find a decent magazine that doesn't include mix CDs, full retail (old) versions of software, etc... It's the crazy idea that you can put something other than printed words in a magazine.

  2. netik says:

    I've never heard the term 'covermount' before, but I assume it means to 'mount the album to the cover of the magazine'.

    Notable examples of this in Germany for the alternative/goth scene are:

    - Zillo
    - Sonic Seducer
    - Musikmagazin

    • netik says:

      ... and one other,

      - Gothik

      All of these are full color, 100+ page magazines devoted to the Genre. Why is the US so lacking in coverage of these genres?

      • theoutrider says:

        It was also common practice for video game magazines in Germany to include full versions of older games on cover discs - to the point where one publishing company actually had a series of magazines devoted entirely to doing this. Much of my early PC game collection was built from magazine cover CDs. However, and I have no idea why, games magazines more or less spontaneously stopped doing this around 2000 or something.

        The difference in this case is, however, that the album was included on a popular Sunday version of a tabloid newspaper, whereas both game cover discs and the sampler/mix CDs you mention are on specialised magazines. Mix discs on music mags are designed to get people interested in new releases and bring them into stores to buy full albums, whereas this basically makes everyone who buys the Mail on Sunday have the album already, for (likely) a fraction of the price. Add to that that the large(ish) music store chain Fopp has just closed down all its stores over here, and I can see why they're worried by this even if it's just a one-time PR stunt.

      • ammonoid says:

        Cuz we're lame. Because the music industry in general seems opposed to the very idea of subculture.

      • hafnir says:

        What, you mean you're not going to be first in line for Vampire Freaks? :)

  3. divergio says:

    Music stores: This is madness!!!
    Prince: This is...what it sounds like, when doves cry!!!!

    I especially dislike the outright threat to all artists in the last paragraph of the quotes. Isn't there some more tactful way to put it?

  4. jkonrath says:

    there's a covermount culture?

    Maybe they mean as in bacteria culture.

    • hatter says:

      That'd be neat in an appropriate science journal, or maybe a 60-part, biweekly educational series, each issue with a different culture to cultivate, examine, experiment with. Later issues could include tips on combination, mutation and coexistance.

      I'd buy it.

      the hatter

  5. ammonoid says:

    which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.

    Theres the problem right there - the music industry itself pretty much destroyed that when it claimed that you neither own the medium nor the music contained on it.

    So, you break your CD you can't get a another one, nor can you make copies, etc. Idiots.

  6. bugpowered says:

    "Covermount" gimmicks are *HUGE* in Greece.

    Here nearly every magazine and newspaper comes wrapped in a plastic foil
    with a bunch of DVDs thrown in (or, in some cases CDs). In fact, most greek
    people nowadays buy a newspaper just for those extracts. Most of the time
    it's movies, which vary from old classic stuff (say, "A fistfull of Dollars"
    or "Dr. Strangelove") to last year's hollywood blockbusters.

    Strangely, when the covermount is a music CD, it never is anything of value or a recent
    production. Most of the time is just another compilation of tired old "classics" from
    the past (like "The Best of The Troggs", hard rock compilations and such). I guess
    the record companies control their back catalogue more fiercely.

  7. maramala says:

    All the reason why I won't be supporting record stores. Cut out the middle man and all that.

  8. babasyzygy says:

    The last time "the industry" was upset with Prince about this kind of thing, he was giving a copy of Musicology to everybody who attended his concerts.

    By bundling the album with tickets, he was able to claim every concert goer as an album sale, keeping his album near the top of Billboard's charts despite weak promotion from Sony.

    I wonder whether there's something similar going on here, except this time with tabloid sales.