You’d think Prince would’ve mobilized the newer power generation by now, but the Purple One has always had a tough time going digital. In 1998, he pissed off lots of his fans by asking them to pre-order Crystal Ball online, only to ship the box months after its retail release in a far inferior package. In 2006 he won a Lifetime Achievement Webby, but inexplicably shut down his official online fan community a few weeks later (“we have decided 2 put the club on hiatus until further notice”). And you’re no doubt familiar with Prince and Web Sheriff’s more recent quest to “reclaim his art on the internet” by banning babies from dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.” Anyway, that brings us to today and the launch of, a (surprise) buggy new fanclub that charges $77 for a bunch of brok3n promises.

The user-unfriendly site launched last night, and while registrants did get to hear the three new albums coming to Target on Sunday (Prince’s Lotusflow3r and MPLSoUND and protégé Bria Valente’s Elixir), it wasn’t easy. Rolling Stone reports:

On message boards like, many fans have already started complaining about the site’s bandwidth problems, its inability to recognize underscores in user name and passwords, downloading issues, choppy videos, its inaccessibility to Europe and more. Even figuring out how to enter Lotusflow3r proved difficult: Fans encountered a riddle of sorts just to access the site in order to pay $77. A purple ticket stub on the lunar ground of the Flash-heavy site was the gateway to purchasing the membership. The stub read “Mar. 07 ______, followed by _________, California,” and only by correctly filling in the blanks could you acquire a membership. Turns out, the answer (“1986?, “Los Angeles”) lay in the prelude to the “Kiss” music video that was being teased on the flickering television screen also on the Lotusflow3r lunar surface. We’re just as confused writing this as you are reading this, so check it out for at the site yourself.

Here’s what you get — or don’t get — for your troubles. Via user SquirrelMeat:

No hard copies of the album?
No crimson and clover?
No chance to gettickets unless you were lucky enough for the site to work in the first 5 mins?
No high res vids?
No downloadable vids?
No exclusive pics, just 21 night pics?
A tee shirt that you have to pay shipping on, and they won’t ship to Europe?

And the kiss video all chopped up on a screen the size of a postage stamp?

Way to go Prince! You did it again!

Expect a torrent of abuse!

User IstenSzek summed it up best:

if you’ve downloaded the albums, this entire new galaxy is very close to the real outer space: dark and empty

Ouch. Prince will promote the three new albums with three nights on Leno (starting tonight) and three L.A. gigs (Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Conga Room and Club Nokia) all on Saturday. I guess we won’t be posting any video from them.

Comments (28)
  1. dood5  |   Posted on Mar 25th, 2009 0

    who cares dot com

  2. For some reason, Prince’s trail of failure is insanely interesting to me.

  3. I miss Prince.

    I don’t miss the nit-wit he’s devolved into the past decade though.

    A shame…

  4. I agree, I miss his old material too. Perhaps he can spend some time with John Mayer who seems addicted to Twitter.

  5. Blessed. I felt strangely illiterate after trying to use this site. Now I know I’m not the only one, I feel sooooo much better. It all went downhill after ‘I wanna be your lover’.

  6. Can someone please explain to me why artists handlers are too scared of their artists to actually guide their careers in a meaningful way? Someone please get some balls and tell Prince this website and business plan look like they are straight out of 1999. Prince and company, listen up! Times have changed. Welcome to 2009! It’s time we sit you down with Trent Reznor so you can finally learn how to take care of your fans.

    I am a big Prince fan, but as this article details, he has made mistake after mistake when it comes to his online presence.

    • Aaron  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

      Wow! Prince was givin stuff away for free on the web when Reznor was selling records like hot cakes with the big studios back in the 90′s.

      Yeah Prince learn from Trent Reznor, and star trashing all your peers, cry like a baby because you loose a Grammy to In rainbows and tell your fans to steall the albums because you don’t sell records like you used to.

      Reznor and Thom Yorke are doing publicity stunts so they can look hip and cool with the new generation. Do you think all these bands will be around in 10 years if they din’t give away their stuff for free? They need to sell tickets. They need attention.

      Prince give away 3 millions records in the UK and he din’t made a big deal about it. Have you see any Prince videos on the web were he’s doing publicity gimicks like saying that he doesn’t wanna be a star or he doesn’t wanna charge $ to his fans etc.? He’s not a hipocrite, he’s not Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell. He doesn’t have to fake the street credit so he can have the number one tour.

      Have Prince ever made a TV spot for the Grammys just to win an award? you know, like Thom Yorke.

      You can go all Perez Hilton on him but he’s the only artist from the last 15 years that haven’t done anything just to be hip and trendy with the new generation, and he still selling records and tickets.

      • JP  |   Posted on Apr 1st, 2009 0

        I’m gonna send a grammar monster after you. Fucking horrible dude. You better be Aaron from China with that bad writing. Though I agree with some of your views, you need to go back to remedial writing class for a semester.

    • Mike  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

      Learn from Trent Reznor??

      $224 for two tickets for the new NIN tour.

      Who’s robbing fans?

  7. Skip Pilkington  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    When “its inability to recognize underscores in user name and passwords” is the SECOND complaint in a laundry list, you’ve gotta wonder if it’s really all that bad or if Prince fans are just obsessive. And, of course, Prince fans are obsessive, so you don’t even really have to wonder.

    • zipzapzopzoup  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

      Well, as one of the users who had that problem (I have an illness that prevents me from not doing whatever Prince asks, so I joined the site), let me explain: when I created my account on Tuesday night, the password I chose allowed an underscore. After experiencing some trouble downloading the new albums, I logged out (folks on .org had figured out that there were some caching issues) and attempted to get back in. That’s where the problem came to light: The sign-in field wouldn’t accept the underscore, so I couldn’t get back in. It’s since been fixed, but is indicative of the lack of testing done pre-launch.

  8. brad  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    Web design aside, the albums are fucking fantastic. People say they miss “old” Prince, but haven’t even heard the new stuff to really back up that statement.

    Take one listen to “Lotus Flow3r” – it’s great. “$” is worth the $77 alone. and “MPLSOUND” (silly name, I know) has moments that rival the stuff from “Controversy”

    Just listen.

  9. Daniel  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    The three albums are superb. Quite a return to his 80′s glory.

    The site has some glitches currently but it is a $77 YEAR LONG SUBSCRIPTION.

    A 12 month sub cannot be judged on less than 48 hours of output.

    Yes, it is a new site. Yes, it does have issues, but I’d hardly describe Prince as a ‘trail of failure’. He sold out 21 nights at Londons 22,000 seater O2 arena in 2007.

  10. Chris  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    No problem with the site whatsoever. Signed up, downloaded the albums (which are mostly terrific) watched some vids (a bit choppy but easily downloadable). People just like to complain, especially the freaks on that site…lol
    Im a happy camper and never was into Prince because of the websites. In it for the music and there’s plenty to choose from….

  11. Knuf Rednuht  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    The website venture does indeed seem to be a big mess, but those of us who have followed Prince’s career had many reasons to predict this outcome…
    The music, however, is very much worth checking out. Luckily, it is not necessary to spend $77 and suffer the site to hear the music… Just head to Target this Sunday, the entire 3CD set will be available for a mere $11.98. There are enough great tunes on the set that anybody complaining at that price should stop buying music all together!!

  12. I wonder if he has a purple computer

  13. William Hodge  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    I joined the site. I downloaded all 3 albums. I watched some videos. I like the site. I’m happy with what he is doing.

  14. Michael Schirmer  |   Posted on Mar 26th, 2009 0

    Nobody should pay $77 to see an artists videos and hear music. Especially from an artist who hasn’t recorded anything of value in the past 17 years. Maybe longer. People argue that Musicology did well but keep in mind the sales numbers were rigged through a loophole by giving the record away with the price of a concert ticket. So, really his record tanked. He’s sucking the life out of his legacy and it’s really sad to watch! The fact that he is charging an outrageous price he should have at least provided flawless material and easy access. Both of which he has failed at. It’s greedy and egotistical to think that you can charge people just to see your website. Sick actually. Prince might have cleaned up his lyrics but his business dealings are dirtier than a pimp in the Tenderloin.

    • Mike  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

      So according to you, Prince should give away for free his concerts tickets and his albums?

      You know how much I spent on my trip to Coachella just to see Radiohead? Do you know how much was a bottle of water there? course Thom Yorke din’t care cause they got paid big time.

      People cut the crap, everyone in the record businnes is for the $, the diference is that some artists are hipocrites and some don’t.

      “Pay wherever you want but give me a free pass for the Grammys” -Thom Yorke.

  15. mysteryroach  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

    The guy who left the last post (Michael Schirmer) has no clue. The reason he thinks Prince has not recorded anything of real value in the past 17 years is because Prince has always been ahead of his time. He is a very prolific artist just like the late Frank Zappa was. You either get it or you don’t. Prince doesn’t care about album sales and awards. He has been there and done all that. Look who sells records these days. Only 10% of those artists are really talented. Prince is just ahead of everyone else musically. Open your mind!

  16. Scoott you really hate Prince, don’t you?

    Prince won the Lifetime Achievement Webby because he was the first mayor artist to leave the mainstream for a digital revolution, you know before (Itunes) was the trendy thing to do (a la Radiohead), he did it for independence, not for commercial purposes (like Radiohead). Sucks that because some people have a lame PC you guys (Stereogum) are going all Perez Hilton on Prince, the site is working great on my Mac (G4). And if you want to see Prince videos just go to MTV music video site, were he has available almost all of his videos for fans to see, so cut the “reclaim his art on the internet” BS, check your facts Scotty.

    Prince still cool on my list and the new album is better then all the indie/hipster bands that you guys promote.

    By the way do you know how many mayor artists have Web Sheriff’s all over You Tube? lots, soon that will be the IN thing to do, in the future every single artist will have their own channel., Why let You Tube lget the $ (ask Trent Reznor or Billy Corgan). But let’s wait fro Thom Yorke to do it so we can say it’s cool..

    At least Prince is not sucking balls to the Grammys or recording stuff with Hanson or Justin Timbarlake.

  17. Luis  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

    If I want to buy the album I will go to Target, If I want the extra stuff I will pay the $77 for the web site, I have a choice, is not like he’s all over the net doing web casts playing hip electronic music so he can appeal a younger generation and doing reverse psychology on he’s fans just to sell records.

    I never seen Prince constantly selling merchandise like shirts, limited edition posters, books or $15 dollars water bottles like Radiohead or Trent Reznor, you know, or he’s not preaching about third world poverty while livin in a mansion.

  18. Mike  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

    One Radiohead water bottle = $15 dlls.

    Radiohead,com is free!! Wow!

    What’s worst a honest seller or a hipocrite artist?

  19. CD  |   Posted on Mar 27th, 2009 0

    The biggest problem w/ the site (and there are numerous) is there’s no “help desk” or email addy to ask for help. i signed up three days ago and still can’t get one of the CDs to download. Who do i go to ask help from? Uf dah.

    • nuvnish  |   Posted on Mar 28th, 2009 0


      They are really helpful and to be honest, considering the amount of work thats gone in2 the site is amazing The bugz will ironed out in due course, I’m sure.

      As for the downloads, it looks like IE is corrupting the album downloads. USE FIREFOX for the downloads.

      I acknowledge that no hard copies is sad, and no crimson and clover is also not cool. Also the videos are choppy BUT its still well worth the money and experiance. I think they done a sterling job and I’m watching the site from London.

      Go Webby dudes :o)

  20. nuvnish  |   Posted on Mar 28th, 2009 0

    Hey all. It looks like an IE fix was rolled out last night. I can now download the MP3′s and WAVs without them being corrupted. :o) Also seems the main videos are no longer choppy (Great Videos by the way). I’m guessing that they will be working through the rest of the site methodically. Teething troubles are to be expected. I’ll let you know if I see any other changes / fixes in place.

    Also does any1 else think Bria sounds like Chante Moore. What a great 80′s throwback album Elixer is. Reminds me of days gone by.

    Cheers lotusflow3r webby people… The experiance is getting better by the day :o)

  21. Here’s all you have to do to understand some of the ridiculous things Prince does.

    He decided to strip down to his underwear and put out an album of pornographic demos…and it worked. He decided to put out a double album and it worked. Then, he decided he was going to make and star in a semi-autobiographical movie and it worked. This is how you become a person that can’t be told how to do anything.

  22. Chinadolll58  |   Posted on Apr 4th, 2009 0

    I paid $50 for that other Prince website, NPG , and that went away. Prince didn’t care if the fans were liking the website and feeling like the money paid for memebership was worth it. Not to mention paying for merchandise and downloads. And here Prince comes again; asking for more money. THERE IS NO WAY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH I WOULD PAY $77 DOLLARS! After Prince(and this time Bria) count the money, POOF! Website gone. Fool me once, shame on Prince. Fool me twice, shame on ME.

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