Prince Makes New Album Ready for Download

Prince has opened at new online music store – and has declared it the “first artist-owned, independent download store of its kind.”

The diminutive funkster’s company said in a statement: “The creation of The Musicology Download Store underscores Prince’s understanding and commitment to the convergence of technology and music. Instead of relying on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, or any of the other corporate-run and owned music services filling the marketplace right now, Prince is building his own 99 cent pay-as-u-go service.”

None of his Warner-era music, i.e. any of his greatest hits, are available for download from the site, and probably never will because he doesn’t have the distribution rights for them.

Files are in Windows Media 9 format, and are priced at the usual US$0.99 per track. Entriq are providing the back-end billing, transaction processing and metrics. “Managing a direct relationship between artist and fan base is a growing phenomenon, and Entriq is fortunate to be working with NPG Music Club, a leader in this area,” said Jan Steenkamp, chief executive officer of Entriq. “Through the Entriq solution, NPG Music Club was able to set the rules for accessing specific music and can be confident that all content is delivered securely, quickly and easily to music fans. Entriq is thrilled to be the backstage partner for delivery of Prince’s music directly and securely to fans.”

Prince, believed to be 5′ 2”, has sold music over the internet with varying success in the past: Crystal Ball was not available for download but could only be ordered from the site, and Xpectations was download only. Sales were modest.

We must say that we’re delighted he’s changed his name back from his previous wiggly icon – whilst the USB symbol was a close match, we felt it didn’t quite have the same sexy feel.

We’ve tried the site and find the interface somewhat baffling – some words perhaps, describing what you’re clicking on, or perhaps an indication of what can actually be clicked, might not go amiss. Then again, with our complete collection of Autechre recordings, perhaps we’re not the target audience here.

With thanks to Ian Edgar for additional information on Prince.

New Power Generation Music Club

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?