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Target just launched a new TV campaign that features legendary artist, Prince, and which is an extension of their partnership with the Purple One, where they have exclusive rights to sell his latest music. The commercial has been pulled from You Tube and everywhere else by the management of the intensely paranoid Prince, but the below Wall Street Journal article details the partnership.
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Prince will be releasing not one, not two, but three new albums for purchase exclusively at Target. But only two are his, as one is from his latest protege, Bria Valentine, who is signed to Prince’s own record label, NPG. Regardless, you can get all three for just $11.98. Not bad.
Prince is just the latest artist to enter into an exclusive partnership with a big retailer following the likes of Guns N Roses with Best Buy and The Eagles and AC/DC with Wal-Mart. We’ll see how this one works out, but based on the success of previous ones, we’re likely to see more of these partnerships in the future with this level of artists.
Prince has always been strongly independent and generally shunned the mainstream as evidence by his refusal to make videos, changing his name to a symbol, scrawling “slave” on his face during public appearances, and completely alienating his label. And he was one of the first to turn his back on the industry altogether and embrace the internet for getting his music out – while everyone else was still using the old model of music distribution. So, he’s always been a bit of a revolutionary and ahead of his times. Which makes the pairing with Target all the more interesting.
Here he is without a label of his own in an industry that has collapsed and left him few options for getting heard – which makes partnering with a brand sensible and a virtual necessity. Yet, it’s a giant corporate retailer like Target who he’s decided to get into bed with now, which contradicts the stance he’s taken against giant record labels and other similar corporate entities. It just goes to show how valuable corporate partnerships are for artists, and how effective leveraging advertising as a platform for one’s music can be.
And since I couldn’t get a video of the commercial, thought I’d at least post a link to the video for the classic, “When Doves Cry.” This is truly 80s R&B funk rock by a gender bending artist taking a bath while birds fly around at it’s finest. And side note that when I was searching for this video, I found that it apparently sparked some controversy by MTV execs and others who thought it was too explicit for TV. Really? Must’ve been the jehri curl and mustache.
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