Music

Prince Will Audit Until the Last Copy of Purple Rain Is Counted

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This teaser clip for Prince’s appearance on next week’s Tavis Smiley show starts casually enough, with Prince explaining the meaning behind new song “Feel Good, Feel Great, Feel Wonderful”–“It’s about telling folks to celebrate and stop hating.” But it turns out that’s not at all what the song is about, as Prince continues: “There are references in the song, though, to a record executive who, uh, we’ve had some pretty interesting conversations with.” No idea why he’s using the first person plural. Anyway, “what we believe happens in the music industry,” Prince goes on to say, is that all major label artists get cheated on their SoundScan, and then shorted accordingly when it comes to royalties. This whole injustice is detailed in a tone of voice best described as furiously calm. “We never really knew what Purple Rain sold,” says Prince. “I don’t know to this day. I only know what they tell me. We’re conducting an audit, but you know–who knows?” Thirteen times platinum and counting. Is the answer. No more than 40 other records, at most, have ever sold better. But Prince will not stop until he gets to the bottom of this massive, historical success. See? That’s what “Feel Good, Feel Great, Feel Wonderful” is about. Tune into the rest of this interview, which will apparently air on Monday, when Prince plans to discuss being teased as a child.

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