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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
Prince album set free on internet
Mail on Sunday with free Prince CD
The Mail on Sunday paid to licence, press and distribute the CD
Copies of Prince's latest album have flooded the internet after being given away with a newspaper in the UK.

Planet Earth is easily accessible to fans around the world - despite plans for a full commercial release in countries including the US.

The album is freely available to download after an estimated three million copies of the CD were distributed with the Mail on Sunday.

Hundreds of the CDs have also been put up for sale on auction site eBay.

Planet Earth is not being sold in record shops in the UK because of the Mail on Sunday promotion.

Since he wants to get his music out to as many people as possible, I ripped the CD and uploaded it
Blogger
But it is still due to be sold as normal elsewhere, including a release in the US and Canada on 24 July.

One blogger who posted the full album on the web wrote: "Seeing as it was free anyway... we decided to stick it up here for anyone who didn't get it.

"This seems to be the way forward. With the music being free, the artists make their money from merchandising and touring, and the digital revolution may yet be the downfall of major labels. No harm in our book!"

Another person who put the album online wrote: "Since he wants to get his music out to as many people as possible, I ripped the CD and uploaded it."

Prince
I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now
Prince
It comes amid the music industry's efforts to persuade fans not to download music from unlicensed, unofficial sources.

The newspaper giveaway has already angered record shops, who say music should not be regarded as a cheap, disposable commodity.

A spokesman for Sony BMG, who are releasing the Prince album around the world, said the situation was "obviously not good for us".

"The perception of intellectual property being 'free' is a problem we share with other businesses including TV, radio, film, magazine, newspaper and gaming companies among others," he said.

"At present no action is being taken to remove files that I know of."

'Direct marketing'

Planet Earth has had largely positive reviews, with The Times saying it was "too good to be so lightly sold".

But The Guardian's critic wrote: "While Prince will never entirely be written off, his 46th album will mostly be remembered for the hype surrounding the means of release."

The US pop star also plans to give away copies to fans attending one of his 21 concerts at London's O2 arena next month.

Globally, he felt that the best way to get his new album best distributed and marketed was by working with a major label again
Sony BMG spokesman
That means it will reach many more listeners than the artist's last album, 3121, which sold 80,000 copies in the UK.

"It's direct marketing and I don't have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now," said the Minneapolis musician when asked why he was giving the CD away.

Sony BMG's spokesman said Prince had been without a record deal for some time and so was free to do the deal with the Mail on Sunday in the UK.

"But it is interesting that globally, he felt that the best way to get his new album best distributed and marketed was by working with a major label again," he said.

The Mail on Sunday's editor, Peter Wright, told BBC Five Live: "Prince has done this because he makes most of his money these days as a performing artist."

Mr Wright confirmed that the newspaper had paid Prince for the licence to produce the CD, and had paid to press and distribute it, but hoped to make money by selling extra copies of the paper and extra advertising.


SEE ALSO
Newspaper gives away Prince CDs
15 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Are free CDs killing music?
13 Jul 07 |  Magazine
Prince album 'should enter chart'
13 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Anger at Prince free CD giveaway
30 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Police shut down Prince concert
09 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Prince to play 21 London concerts
08 May 07 |  Entertainment

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