LATEST: Music industry bosses have slammed Prince's plans to give away copies of his new album free in a U.K. newspaper, insisting the stunt "beggars belief".
Bosses at Sony BMG U.K. have won an exemption from the terms of a new worldwide deal struck by the pop superstar and executives at the company's mother label Columbia in the U.S. after learning Prince plans to release Planet Earth as a giveaway with Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper.
The Mail's editors scored the coup after a series of meetings with Prince's representatives. The 10-track album will now be released with editions of the newspaper later this month (Jul07).
But Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, can't understand why Prince is shunning a traditional release.
He says, "The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.
"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 now 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.