NPG Records And Paisley Park Enterprises Release Rare Prince B-Side “United States Of Division” | LISTEN!

NPG Records And Paisley Park Enterprises Release Rare Prince B-Side “United States Of Division” To Celebrate The 20th Anniversary Of Prince’s 2004 Album Musicology

Makes Long-Awaited Debut On Digital Streaming Services

April 5 (Minneapolis, MN) – Prince’s Grammy winning twenty-eighth studio album Musicology received rave reviews from critics and fans alike when it was released nearly 20 years ago, and with its revolutionary direct-to-fan marketing strategy, effectively changed music promotion forever.

Today, to commemorate 2 decades of Musicology, NPG Records and Paisley Park Enterprises, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, have released “United States Of Division,” a rare 2004 Prince recording that was initially offered as a virtual B-side download for “Cinnamon Girl” exclusively from Prince’s NPG Music Club and eventually as a non-LP bonus track for the UK CD single of “Cinnamon Girl,” but has not been distributed via streaming services until now.

“United States Of Division” is a powerful protest song that sees Prince boldly confronting the social and political issues that continue to plague the nation to this day. Over a percussive backbeat and slinking bassline colored by synths and horn stabs, Prince laments the state of a fractured nation: “How far from heaven must we go? / Before the winds of change will blow and show / This world how it’s supposed to be / Land of peace and harmony.” Released in the midst of the US war in Iraq, “United States Of Division” serves as a potent reminder of Prince’s often underappreciated passion for social commentary. While Prince’s 2004 lyrics may be referring to a past era, his unyielding stance on inequality remains ever so relevant in the turbulent socio-political landscape of the present. The timelessness of his songwriting once again serves as a reminder that music has the power to bring people together.

“It’s obvious that there’s an agenda against the disenfranchised and the uneducated,” according to Prince during the Musicology era, “so ultimately, I think, to counter that, we’re gonna have to talk to one another. One of the ways we used to do that was through our music…”

The new spotlight on this song also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Prince’s landmark Musicology Live 2004ever tour, a remarkable run of shows that saw the trendsetting star distributing copies of his most recent album Musicology to thousands of concert attendees along the tour route. On Prince’s request, the tour featured reasonable ticket prices that encouraged fans young and old to attend shows. Devised by Prince and his longtime lawyer, confidante, and Musicology Executive Producer L. Londell McMillan this grassroots approach to album marketing profoundly changed that way the music industry viewed live performances and once again cemented Prince’s status as one of modern music’s great creative visionaries.

Speaking about this era of Prince’s career, McMillan noted: “Some called it his comeback, Prince called it Musicology. The brilliance of this classic album was coupled with the commercial success executed on his tour with ticket sales, creating a number one record on the charts. Prince was simply awesome and the music world owes him a great debt for his creativity and innovation.”

In an archival interview clip from the Musicology era, Prince described how his creative process had changed at this stage in his career: “This record…remember it’s made by someone who’s been there and back. Hopefully people feel that and listen to it with that set of ears. Music is music ultimately. If it makes you feel good? Cool.”

Watch the interview clip, along with 2004 Musicology tour performance footage HERE

Photo Credit: Afshin Shahidi (courtesy of the Prince Estate)

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