Prince has committed to a blockbuster, 21-date stretch performing in London this summer. The Earth Tour will kick off Aug. 1 with seven dates at the new 17,000-plus capacity venue O2 Arena, which will

Prince has committed to a blockbuster, 21-date stretch performing in London this summer. The Earth Tour will kick off Aug. 1 with seven dates at the new 17,000-plus capacity venue O2 Arena, which will open its doors for the first time the previous month.

Continuing with the concept tested with his 2004 U.S. Musicology tour, a free copy of the artist's forthcoming album will be distributed with each ticket purchased. Details were not revealed about that project; a spokesperson for Universal in North America, which released Prince's most recent album, "3121," says it does not have a new album from the artist on its schedule.

Tickets will be capped at £31.21 ($62.24), with booking, CD postage and packaging fees bringing the total to £37.21 ($74.21). In the context of U.K. ticket prices for superstars, the fee for Prince's performances represents excellent value. In comparison, the best seats for Barbra Streisand's upcoming British shows cost £600.

The legendary artist look part in a press gathering in central London today (May 8) to unveil the three-week stint, which will be his only European dates this year.

"Last time I was here, a lot of people didn't get to see me, so we're trying to make it affordable," he explained. "That's why we're doing an extended stay. I got used to this while working in Las Vegas. I also have a wide fanbase, which come to multiple shows all the time."

During his stretch at the 3121 venue in Las Vegas, the artist and his band performed a slew of unusual material, including a version of Beatles classic "The Long And Winding Road," Amy Winehouse tracks and "a lot of jazz."

Gig-goers in London should expect the unexpected, he declared today. "Because there's going to be so many nights here, we're going to change the show every night. We've learned about 150 songs, and it'll be a lot of fun." Prince did not address the claim in a press release that he would be "performing his greatest hits for the very last time," a statement that seems to be whispered every time he returns to the road.

When asked if this was the last time he would play London, he admitted, "for a while. Which is another reason why we are staying so long." When pressed, he added, "We just need to take some time off to study and travel." And what is he studying? "The Bible."

A spokesperson said "eclectic and surprising supports from around the world" would open for the star. "I hope that [Winehouse] is going to show up," Prince said. "I'm a big fan."

Prince's hugely successful Musicology tour was built on similar principles -- ticket prices were kept low, and the "Musicology" CD came free with purchase. The tour drew nearly 1.5 million people, more than any tour on the road that year, and generated $90.2 million in gross ticket sales, ranking second only to Madonna on the year-end Billboard Boxscore chart.

The inclusion of the CD for the London dates was down to "direct marketing," Prince said today, adding "I don't have to be in the speculation business. The record industry is going through tumultuous times at the moments."

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