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Prince is partying like it’s $9.99. This week, the diminutive singer launches his own digital distribution service called the Musicology Download Store. Fans will be able to get an entire album’s worth of songs for about $10, or individual singles for $.99; people who join the his club will get reduced rates, plus breaks on concert tickets and unreleased material.

Prince has long advised other musicians that if they don’t own their master recordings, then they’re slaves to their labels. Now he’s really practicing what he preaches. While other companies own his most well known works - such as Purple Rain and 1999 – he’s still able to digitally distribute seven albums, plus live material, that he owns.

I expect that we’ll see more and more artists following this lead in the near future, and that’s a good thing. Despite all the concern over music piracy, prolific artists like Prince have a great opportunity to capitalize on the iPod nation. And they can complete cut out the middlemen – from the labels to the retailers too. Power to the purple.

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