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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 10:53 GMT
Prince signs Columbia record deal
Prince wrote "slave" on his face during a dispute with a former label
Music star Prince, who once complained he was a "slave" to a record label, has signed to Sony subsidiary Columbia.

The deal only applies to Prince's forthcoming album Musicology, which the label will release worldwide in April.

In the early 1990s, Prince said former label Warner could not keep up with his prolific output, so he performed with the word "slave" on his face.

The album coincides with Prince's latest tour, which begins in Nevada, US, on Saturday.

In a cryptic statement, Prince said: "I am really an artist and musician at heart, that's what I do. Musicology has no boundaries or formats.

"It is long overdue to return to the art and craft of music - that's what this album is about. School's in session."


Prince, 45, enjoyed his greatest success with Warner Brothers, which signed him in 1977 and released albums such as Purple Rain, Sign O' the Times and Diamonds and Pearls.

At one stage, he renegotiated a lucrative contract that also made him a vice-president of the label.

But as his relationship with the company deteriorated, he changed his name to an unpronouncable symbol and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

After leaving Warner, he released a series of albums on independent labels and 1999's Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic on Arista Records.

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