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  Prince and Donnie Vie Offer Up Digital Albums. 


07-14-03 antiGUY
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At a time when the record industry is struggling with sluggish sales, and some artist are doing all they can to fight the digital revolution’s entry into the music business, there are a few artist who see nothing but potential from the online world and have embraced the Internet wholeheartedly. 

Prince has always been known to march to beat of his own drummer, so it is no surprise that “the purple one” has decided to take to the web to release his new album “N.E.W.S.”. 

Prince is offering his fans the chance to purchase a digital download version of the entire album from his official website. 

According to Underground News, “The album is a somewhat different musical offering from Prince. There are four 14 minute instrument tracks titled 'North', East', 'West' and 'South'.

“The songs were recorded as live at his Paisley Park studio in Minneapolis and feature Rhonda Smith, John Blackwell, Renato Neto and Eric Leeds as well as Prince.”

Fans who want to get the album the old fashioned way (in CD form) will not be able to go to their local record store and buy it as the CD version of the album will be sold exclusively through Prince’s online store - www.npgmusicclub.com

Prince isn’t the only one who has decided to bypass record companies and deliver his music directly to fans over the Internet. Enuff Z’nuff frontman, Donnie Vie plans to make a digital download version of his new solo album available to fans for purchase through his website- donnievie.com on August 1st. 

Donnie’s album, “Just Enough,” is slated for release in the UK on August 23rd, but with imports selling for around $30 bucks each, Donnie wanted to give his fans from outside of the UK, who can’t wait for a CD release in their countries, the chance to get a hold of the music a lot cheaper. 

The digital version will like feature bonus tracks differing from the UK CD release. And when it comes time to release the official CD in the states and Japan, those version will likely have some different bonus tracks as well.

The opportunities afforded artists by the Internet excites Donnie and when he launched his solo project last year he saw the Internet as an exciting means to connect directly with fans and took full advantage of the web by creating a members only website called the Vie Club. 

With the Vie Club, the fans get to hear all of Donnie’s new music. “…everything-- good or bad. You’re the judge as you should be,” explains Donnie. Fans even get to take an inside look at the creative process for Donnie as he posts versions of his songs as they evolve from early demo form to the finished mixed and mastered versions.  Since the Vie club launched late last year, Donnie has even Posted a couple of songs that he literally wrote, recorded and released to his fans on the very same day.

After releasing eleven albums with Enuff Z’nuff, Donnie decided to take some time away from the band and work on new music that he has always wanted to produce but didn’t necessarily fit under the Enuff Z’nuff umbrella. One of the biggest disappoints for this prolific songwriter over the years has been that literally hundreds of songs he has written have gone unheard by his fans and the songs that do make it on to the records sit on a shelf for year waiting for an official album release. Before the Vie Club, Donnie’s fans had to turn to bootlegs or e-bay to hear songs that were never officially released. 

“You know how frustrating it is to be kickin’ songs out and no one’s gonna hear em till next year if anyone hears em at all. Even when they are released, it’s on joeblow records, not in the stores,” says Donnie. “And I’m supposed to feel thankful for joeblow and the nothing he does, not to mention all the good songs that don’t make the records, or just plain get forgotten about and are never even born (recorded)?” 

Donnie has used his website to give fans not only new music but original art, and video content including live performances as well as the unedited and unfiltered interview footage that will be used in his upcoming DVD set dubbed “Donnie Vie: In His Own Words,” which will include rare live footage from Donnie’s entire career as well as Donnie taking the fans behind the scenes; chronicling his life story as well as performing acoustic versions of his most loved songs and telling the stories behind them. 

With the success of the Vie Club, Donnie knew that the idea of releasing a digital version of his solo album would appeal to fans. It might take a few years for other artists to embrace the net in the same way that Donnie Vie and Prince have, but one thing is certain; the rules of the game are changing and some artists have enough foresight to embrace and take full advantage of that change. 

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