Prince Set To Tour, But Label Is Up In The Air

Prince next month will embark on his first major tour in six years. He also has a new album, "Musicology," but a label deal remains up in the air.

Prince next month will embark on his first major tour in six years. He also has a new album, "Musicology," but a label deal remains up in the air.

Concerts West, a division of AEG Live, is expected to promote the majority of the 26 dates scheduled so far. The shows March 29 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and wrap June 12 at CenturyTel Center in Bossier, La. More stops will be added, including in major markets such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Houston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Portland, Ore.

Announcing the tour today (Feb. 24) in Los Angeles, Prince played the jazz-infused title track from the new album. Explaining his fresh material, Prince said, " 'Musicology' is very important to us. [The word] means that when we create music, we let it dictate our next moves in life."

Old favorites will also be part of the tour, which will be presented in the round. But Prince warned that these gigs will be the last time fans will be able hear his classics for awhile, since he is "wanting to make room for new music."

Prince says he's talking to all the major labels to "help with distribution. I want this [album] to be shared by all; I want all of them to release it at once. This may seem crazy, but I'm going to ask them."

Asked by if he'd be averse to signing back up with a major label, he replied, "I want my music to be handled by individuals who are most hyped about pushing the product. It's very frustrating to spend five or six months working on something only to give it to someone else who's going to mess it up in two weeks. I want them to guarantee their work. I can guarantee mine. Give us [artists] some projections. They'll say, 'Nobody can predict [how an album will perform].' If I can, then I expect them to do the same. It's not too much to ask."

To bypass ticket brokers, secure the best seats for shows, gain exclusive access to his afterparty and get a free copy of the new album, he's encouraging people to become members of his NPG Music Club. They can sign up at for a lifetime membership fee of $25.

Prince said he is also gearing up to let fans download tracks from "Musicology" via the NPG site. Members would pay $0.77 per song, while non-members would be charged $0.99.

New Power Generation band members joining Prince on the road and on the new album include John Blackwell (drums), Greg Boyer (trombone), Candy Dulfer (saxophone), Chance Howard (trumpet), Renato Neto (piano and synthesizers), Maceo Parker (saxophone), RAD (vocals and keyboards), and Rhonda Smith (bass).

Other confirmed performances include May 29 at the annual Tiger Woods-sponsored Tiger Jam in Las Vegas and a headlining spot at the July 2-4 Essence Festival in New Orleans. As previously reported, Prince will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame March 16 in New York.