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Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Prince backs 'exciting' Napster
Prince is a supporter of Napster
Pop star Prince has joined the Napster debate - describing the controversial music-sharing service as "exciting".

The singer also hit out at record industry bosses, who he claimed were exploiting artists and controlling what music the public got to listen to.

His comments come as a court case between Napster and the world's major record companies looms to decide whether the files-swapping service infringes copyright laws.

Prince is the biggest star so far to come out in support of internet music-sharing services.

Metallica have spoken out against music-sharing services
In a statement on his own website, he said: "From the point of view of the music lover, what's going on can only be viewed as an exciting new development in the history of music.

"And fortunately there does not seem to be anything the old record companies can do about preventing this evolution from happening."

Prince's strongest criticism was reserved for Time Warner Inc president Richard Parsons, whose company owns the star's former record label Warner Brothers.

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Parsons was quoted as saying: "An increasing number of young people don't buy albums, they are growing up with a notion that music is free and ought to be free."


Prince, who had a long-running dispute with Warner over the ownership of his songs, responded by saying: "This statement deals with the relationship between music and the public from a purely commercial point of view.

"Nowhere in his statement is there any indication that what might happen with young people exchanging music is that they might develop a real appreciation of music in general."

He added that they would probably be "perfectly honest citizens who realise that artists should be compensated for their work".

Young people...need to be educated about how the record companies have exploited artists and abused their rights for so long

Time Warner is one of five record labels suing Napster for violations of copyright law. The others are Sony, Universal, BMG and EMI.

They are supported by artists including rock band Metallica and rapper Dr Dre.

A Time Warner spokesman said of Prince's comments: "Dick (Parsons) has a lot of respect for Prince as an artist and as a musician, but that doesn't change the company's position on Napster."

Prince insisted it was the record companies who were the real villains.

"Young people...need to be educated about how the record companies have exploited artists and abused their rights for so long," he said.

"Online distribution is turning into a new medium which might enable artists to put an end to this exploitation."

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See also:

30 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Napster revival sparks online frenzy
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09 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Prince blasts music industry
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