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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 June 2007, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Anger at Prince free CD giveaway
Prince
Planet Earth is Prince's 24th studio album
The music industry has reacted angrily at a decision to give away the new album by US musician Prince with a tabloid newspaper.

Planet Earth will be given free with a future edition of the Mail on Sunday.

The 10-track CD from Prince - whose hits include Purple Rain, Sign O' The Times and Cream - is not due to be released until 24 July.

Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, said the decision "beggars belief".

"The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores," said Mr Quirk, referring to a period in the 1990s when Prince famously stopped using his name in favour of a symbol.

No one has done this before... this is just setting a new level
Stephen Miron, Mail on Sunday MD

"It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career.

"It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music."

The practice of "covermounts" - where newspapers attempt to lure readers with DVDs and CDs - is used widely in the industry.

The Mail on Sunday's recent CD giveaways include Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, UB40 and Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.

Stephen Miron, the newspaper's managing director, said: "No one has done this before. We have always given away CDs and DVDs, but this is just setting a new level."

Out of business

Mr Miron declined to say how much the newspaper had paid to secure the deal.

He added that the newspaper was not out to put music retailers out of business.

"They are living in the old days and haven't developed their businesses sufficiently. We can enhance their business. They are being incredibly insular and need to move their business on," he said.

But HMV chief executive Simon Fox has said it would be "absolutely nuts" to give the album away for free.

The company revealed on Thursday that its profits had more than halved in the face of cut-price competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

The deal has also led to the UK arm of Sony BMG pulling out of the distribution agreement.

"Given the sheer number of copies we are talking about here it seemed the right thing to do for retailers to become exempt from the deal in the UK," said a spokesman for Sony BMG, the world's second-biggest music company.

Prince is due to play 21 concert dates in London later this year.


SEE ALSO
Prince to play 21 London concerts
08 May 07 |  Entertainment
Prince to play at the Super Bowl
11 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Prince sets sights on Las Vegas
02 Nov 06 |  Entertainment

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