On the 16th July 2007 we saw a story entitled "Prince album set free on the Internet". Apparently Prince had decided to give copies of his new album away free with every copy of the Daily Mail on Sunday. At which point thousands of recipients of the new CD either put it up for sale on Ebay or uploaded it to the Net and distributed to millions of other lucky fans. All free of course.
Then on 13th September we saw another story, again on the BBC site entitled "Prince gets tough on web pirates". This time instead of fueling the online piracy movement by flooding us with freebie albums, Prince is now attacking sites like Youtube for hosting clips of his most recent concerts in London.
The singer says he is taking action against the site, and others like it, to "reclaim his art on the internet".
Forgive us for making this observation, but who the hell is advising Prince in this particular respect? Far be it for us to attack the rights of any artist or intellectual property owner and we definately wouldn't wish to do this. But what kind of signal is Prince sending out when he offers his soul to the world for free one minute, then (pretty futily) scrambles about trying to save it the next minute.
What Prince has done is not only potentially damaging for his career, but for everyone elses too.
With the growing power of online media, the next few years in the TV and music industry are likely to be the most testing of all. What it doesn't need are insiders playing shape-shifting games, which could threaten to undermine it still further.
We ask, Was Prince the first artist ever to hack the Pop Music Business?
For more on this story see :: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6993752.stm