Prince compares record contracts to 'slavery' and hates on streaming services in rare interview

Prince used to scrawl 'Slave' on his cheek in protest at his label

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The Independent Culture

Bagging a record contract may be the aim of aspiring young musicians everywhere, but Prince has advised would-be artists to think twice before signing on to a life of "slavery".

The legendary singer has been critical of music industry workings of late and used a recent meeting with ten reporters from the National Association of Black Journalists to decry the way in which record labels are run.

"Record contracts are just like, I'm gonna say the word - slavery. I would tell any young artist - don't sign," he told the small group at Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis, according to NPR, before attacking streaming services for the rates they pay and labels for forcing artists to stream their music against their will.

"Once we have our own resources, we can provide what we need for ourselves," he said. "Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service [Tidal]. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves."


Prince is known for his antipathy to record labels and famously scrawled 'Slave' on his face while caught in a lawsuit with Warner Bros in 1993. He later changed his name to 'the Artist Formerly Known As' and 'the Love Symbol' in a dramatic attempt to distance himself from "the chains" of the label.

Just last year, he filed copyright complaints against 22 fans after they shared links to bootlegged concerts on social media. Prince deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts and asked for all images and videos of him to be removed from the internet.

Journalists speaking to Prince were forbidden from recording the interview or taking pictures.

He was speaking partly to promote the release of his new album HITNRUN exclusively on Tidal after following Taylor Swift in removing all his songs from other streaming services earlier this year.