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In a surprise move today, a well-dressed, lucid and responsive Prince held a press conference with Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. to announce a healing of the decades-old rift between the artist and his former record label.
Seated at the same table as the CEO of the label he had a very public dispute with in the early nineties, Prince revealed long-anticipated plans for a complete overhaul of his back catalogue. Offering sample CD cases for the cameras' benefit with thick, lavish booklets filled with unreleased photos and lyrics, the artist explained how he and Warners catalogue division Rhino Records would work together to remaster the original albums using the most up-to-date 5.1 technology. Further, he added, the original albums would be released in deluxe 3-disc packages filled with contemporary b-sides and remixes and with voluminous offerings from the much-lauded 'vault', where hundreds or perhaps thousands of greatly-anticipated outtakes reside. A third disc in each package would be a Blu-Ray disc filled with contemporary music videos, live performances and documentary footage, featuring interviews with the principal figures involved in the various phases of Prince's recording career. A special feature of each disc would be a lengthy interview with Prince in which he discussed in detail the creation of each song on the album in question and the motivation behind them.
Revealing a roll-out plan by which the new albums would be released over the next twelve months, Bronfman added that the long-deleted The Gold Experience and albums by 'associated artists' such as The Family and Jill Jones would also get the same treatment. Bronfman added that all material would also be made available on iTunes for download, and that Prince's videos would once again be made available for viewing on YouTube. Prince also revealed plans to launch a new website, tentatively called 'deadinternet.com', albeit one that would focus on promotion only. He revealed that his experiments with unconventional online music distribution would come to an end, and that he would "trust" digital distribution "to the experts". Prince revealed that as a gesture of apology, he would offer a 25% discount on all online sales of his remastered back catalogue to all disgruntled subscribers to lotusflow3r.com. With remarkably sober contrition, Prince apologised for his hostility and negligence towards his online community of fans, promising to heal the rift and regain the confidence of those whose support over the years had kept him in business.
Bronfman added that Prince and WMG were also in discussions to bring the same quality reissue programme to Prince's self-released work on his own NPG label, including the material released online over the years. They revealed that they hoped to have a North American retail-distribution deal for 20Ten ready by, well, 2011. As a fully remastered version of "When Doves Cry" began to blare from the speakers behind them, Prince and Bronfman, with beaming smiles, shook hands, and as the press members in attentence applauded in appreciation, Prince turned toward the array of flashing flash bulbs and with a smile said, "Making music naturally, me and WB..."
...and that's when I woke up.