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Record label: NPG Records
First release: For You, 1978
This Minneapolis native realized long ago what many artists now recognize: CD sales can be a mere complement to a musician’s core commerce. Prince astonished the music world in July, 2007 when he had his latest CD included for free in the Daily Mail, a London newspaper—and promptly sold out a three-week engagement at a London stadium. Previously, Prince had offered free copies of Musicology with a ticket to one of his concerts. He has also begun playing shows for small, affluent audiences paying hefty ticket prices. It’s all part of a business strategy that emphasizes collecting his profits at the front end, rather than waiting for record sales and royalty payments. Publicly likening his former record deal with Warner Bros. Records WMG to slavery, Prince has been independent since 1996. He releases his work on his own NPG Records label.