Prince compares record contracts to “slavery”

His new album, HitNRun, is due in September

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Prince has used a rare meeting with journalists to take a shot at the way the music industry works, comparing record contracts to “slavery”, and advising young artists not to sign.

According to NPR, Prince met 10 journalists at his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis on Saturday [August 8, 2015], where he addressed the state of the music industry.

The singer revealed the reason he is releasing his new album, HitNRun, directly through Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal. “Record contracts are just like — I’m gonna say the word – slavery,” NPR reports Prince as saying. “I would tell any young artist… don’t sign.”


Prince complained that record company contracts reduce artists to the level of “indentured servitude”, with little control over how their music is used or the revenue they receive from streaming services.

“Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves,” Prince said of why he decided to work 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.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Prince later debuted two songs from his new album, possibly titled “Million Dollar Show” and “Shut It Down”. The Tribune report descibes them as “very dense and mechanical, with lots of intriguing electronic noises.”


HitNRun will be released through Tidal on September 7. A physical release will follow, according to the Tribute.

During a lawsuit against Warner Bros in 1993, Prince wrote the word “Slave” on his face in protest against the label.

Prince and the label later reconciled.

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