Many things in life can leave you in a devastating daze, and you always feel as if there’s no way this could happen.
That’s exactly how it felt as news of the incomparable Prince’s passing rang truer by the hour, it felt like I got punched in the gut. Nobody I knew could really believe it, most refusing to do so. I remember telling my mother, “I forgot you can’t get his music electronically.” She’s an 80s baby, so she’s got everything already – lucky her!
However if you were a part of the NPG Music Club (named after Prince’s band, New Power Generation) between 2001 and 2006, you were among the 400,000 Prince devotees who were treated to new music and exclusives like soundcheck passes. Prince didn’t just want to share his music with his fans, he wanted to share in their lives and foster relationships where people could come together to enjoy his artistry.
During the beginning, fans could use choose between a basic monthly subscription option (like current poplar music streaming services like Apple Music) that cost $7.77 a month and an annual Premium option that cost $100 a year. With the Basic option, users had access to three songs new with music videos and free 1 hour radio show featuring Prince and his band. Premium subscribers were treated to features like access to concert seats and passes to afterparties. They even got a free copy of Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic album mailed to them. When his subscribers began voicing their opinions about the amount of traffic in the ticket portion of the service and not receiving the exclusive, membership was subsequently lowered to $2.50 a month or $25 for a lifetime subscription.
Unfortunately for all of us now, the site has since been closed down with Prince feeling that he took the service “as far as it can go” after five years of bringing artist and fan together like never before. It remains to be seen if current music streaming and subscription services will take a play out of Prince’s handbook and try to recreate the experienced he pioneered.
But then again, we’re talking about Prince here.; the man, the myth, the Purple Legend.