Prince is grandstanding, again. Two days after announcing that he would release his new album HitNRun exclusively using Jay Z's Tidal music streaming service, the singer is quoted as having said that the reason he is sidestepping a traditional release format is because "record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word – slavery," Prince said. "I would tell any young artist... don't sign."
Speaking to a small group of reporters from the National Association of Black Journalists Saturday at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis, the 58 year-old Minneapolis entrepreneur expressed concerns over the future of the music business, NPR reports. He also voiced his disapproval about how record labels hold artists to "indentured servitude," since the artists have little control or insight over how labels take their music and profit off it online, a claim David Byrne similarly laid against the major labels.
"Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves," Prince said of why he chose to team with Tidal. "Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves."
His relationship with Tidal had been burgeoning for some months, and was first made public during his Rally 4 Peace concert, which was streamed on the newly launched service back in May.
In a statement, he explained his reasons for opting for Tidal, saying that it took one meeting and 90 days to prepare its release: “If that’s what freedom feels like, Hitnrun is what it sounds like,” said Prince.
He added: “After one meeting, it was obvious that Jay Z and the team he has assembled at Tidal recognize and applaud the effort that real musicians put into their craft to achieve the very best they can at this pivotal time in the music industry.
“Secondly, Tidal have honoured us with a non-restrictive arrangement that once again allows us to continue making art in the fashion we’ve grown accustomed to and we’re extremely grateful for their generous support.”
HitnRun is set for release on September 7th. It is expected the album will be made available through traditional outlets including iTunes and Amazon shortly thereafter.
NPR, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, joint press release