Prince Blasts Music Industry On Napster

In essay on Web site, he says record companies 'only care about lost sales,' not copyright infringement.

MTV News Online

Prince — one of the first artists to turn to the Internet to distribute his music after a protracted battle with Warner Bros. — has weighed in on the Napster debate with an essay that takes a few swipes at his former label.

In the essay, titled "4 the Love of Music" and posted at his www.npgonlineltd.com Web site, Prince says the heart of the Napster debate isn't copyright infringement but lost revenue.

"What record companies don't really understand is that Napster is just one illustration of the growing frustration over how much the record companies control what music people get 2 hear," Prince wrote. "Over how the airwaves, record labels, and record stores, which r now all part of this 'system' that recording companies have pretty much succeeded in establishing, r becoming increasingly dominated by the musical 'products' 2 the detriment of real music.

"The record company doesn't really care about [copyright infringement]," he continued. "All it cares about is that 'kids' on the Internet r downloading MP3s of the one hit song on the latest crappy release they put out with a huge promotional campaign, hoping 2 sell 2 million copies of the album when there is actually only one decent song on it. They don't care about copyright infringement. They only care about lost sales."

In the lengthy essay, Prince predicts that as the digital-distribution revolution continues, fans and users will learn to voluntarily pay artists for downloading and using their works, a position touted by the likes of Hole's Courtney Love and author Stephen King.

"Yes, young people need 2 be educated about the fact artists should be compensated 4 their work," Prince wrote, "but they don't need 2 be educated about how 2 hypocritically exploit artists by forcing them to participate in a system designed 2 sell product instead of sharing good music."

In the next phase of the Napster–Recording Industry Association of America lawsuits, the two sides are scheduled to file briefs with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco regarding the temporary injunction that threatened to close down the file-swapping service late last month.

— David Basham