Prince leaves journos 'disappointed'; likens record deals to 'slavery'



Prince managed to make some headlines this past weekend. On Saturday, the Minnesota music legend's Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen hosted the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists. Billed as a dance party, the $20 event drew almost 900 members of NABJ from around the country, the Star Tribune reports. The evening's talking points were twofold. 

First, as reported by the Wrap, several attendees were "disappointed" after Prince opted not to perform at the four-hour party. Instead, he spent his minute of stage time plugging Jay Z's struggling Tidal music-streaming service, on which the Purple One will exclusively release his forthcoming HitNRun album.

Here's Prince early Sunday morning, according to the Wrap: "Jay Z and I are putting out an album come September 7. He could really use your help and appreciation because he is trying to do something big."

The only guarantees at Paisley are bans on cell phones, recording devices, and booze, but the brief and self-interested Prince cameo rubbed some members of NABJ the wrong way. 

“I’m pissed. I want my money back," Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary told the Wrap. “I feel bad for the local chapter. I thought it was a little disrespectful to come out and say, ‘Buy my album.'”

"The expectation of him performing may have left some people disappointed, but I enjoyed it,” Everett Marshburn of Milwaukee Public Television told the Wrap. 

The second headline-grabbing tidbit came from a rare meeting between Prince and members of the media. NPR reports Prince assembled 10 journalists at a glass conference table Saturday for an interview about the business of music. 

"Record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word — slavery," the highly compensated artist told the group, according to NPR.  "I would tell any young artist ... don't sign."

Prince also dissed radio giant Clear Channel and advocated a direct, artist-to-fan model for music distribution, NPR reports. When asked how he plans to spread his word, he laughed and informed the journalists, "That's why you're here." 

Worth noting: More than two decades removed from writing "slave" on his face to protest his deal with Warner Bros. Records, Prince re-upped with Warner Bros. last year.