U2 may have been the face of the iTunes explosion, and Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have tested the limits of digital-music distribution, but when it comes to finding new ways to reach fans and give record labels "the finger" in the process, Prince takes the crown. He initially released 1997's Crystal Ball album exclusively online, and offered fans exclusive tracks through the now defunct NPGMusicClub.com in 2005. So it's fitting that LotusFlow3r.com, his latest project, aims to offer fans a smorgasbord of digital content with little to no label interference.
The site is live now, but when LotusFlow3r.com officially launches March 24, fans that pay the $77 annual fee will get exclusive access to tracks from Prince's upcoming album, as well as unreleased music, streaming video, photos and advances on concert tickets. Since die-hard fans will only be able to legitimately access this content through the site, it's a nod to my colleague Rory's suggestion that labels (but also artists) set up their own digital-distribution platforms instead of relying on third-parties like iTunes and *Amazon*. Wired notes that it's also similar to filmmaker David Lynch's membership site.
Prince will kick off the launch with three concerts at three different venues in L.A. on March 24, followed by four consecutive nights of Tonight Show performances; he's also chosen Target as the exclusive distributor of a three-disc release priced for under $12.
Photo Credit: Wired via LotusFlow3r.com
By Tameka Kee