The official fan club
of Prince Rogers Nelson
. After declining to renew his contract with Warner Brothers Records
, Prince opted to be a free agent
rather than sign with another record label
The membership was originally available on a month by month subscription basis, now it only annual. In return for your cash, you are guaranteed 4 CDs of previously unreleased material (the CDs may be comprised of studio tracks
, live performances
, etc), plus the ability to download MP3s of similar types of material as well as audio interviews and video clips. You also get pre-sale access to concert tickets (this is part of his plan to ensure that fans get the best seats at shows, rather than scalpers
(often the same people) getting the best ones.
This is a similar approach to what Frank Zappa did when he left Warner back in the early 70's (adjusted for advances in technology) and started his own record company to sell his albums. Prince is one of the most bootleged artists around even years after the peak of his commercial popularity (last I checked, the most bootlegged rotate between the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Nirvana, Princeand a random sampling of whoever is on the top of the charts at the time) and the first of the CD's available to NPG Music Club members is One Nite Alone, a collection of solo piano performances by Prince (with vocals). This looks to be the classic bootleg Intimate Moments With His Royal Badness (aka Eavesdropped in Intimate Moments, among others) in much higher quality with some newer performances included.
I would think that at some point he will expand his online store to make all those bootlegs available to fan club members at drastically lower prices than the bootlegers charge. And the money is going to the actual artist, so that's a plus in my book.