Prince’s coolness has taken something of a hit lately. The sexually androgynous pop superstar of the 1980s angered many of his fans—queer or otherwise–when he expressed his support for Proposition 8. He then announced he was trying some music industry experimentation by releasing all 3 of his albums at the end of the month for $11.98 exclusively at Target. The novelty of the cheap price came at the cost of infuriating independent music stores across the country, especially those in Minneapolis that Prince would regularly frequent not that long ago.
In another move that will baffle many fans who had previously assumed Prince’s coolness was untouchable, Prince will be offering digital downloads of all 3 albums—LotusFlow3r, MPLSound, and Elixir as well as a year’s worth of exclusive videos, news, behind-the-scenes footage and other tidbits directly on the internet. The catch? The package costs a whopping $77.
The bizarre move comes at a time when No Doubt announced it would be giving its entire back catalog for just $15 extra if you buy a ticket to see their show live. In terms of pricing models, it’s not exactly encouraging for Prince when No Doubt is giving you 8 albums and a concert ticket for less than Prince is charging for 3 albums and a handful of media. My best explanation is that Prince figures the footage will be pirated heavily anyway, so he may as well milk all he can out of the few fans willing to pay that much for Prince swag. My guess is he’s on the far side of the downward slope of the Laffer Curve here.
The $77 one-year subscription package will be available at lotusflow3r.com. Just to put that in perspective, a one-year subscription to Vanity Fair now costs $12.