Local Current Blog

23 Prince albums from 1995-2010 now available on streaming services

Prince performs onstage during the 2007 NCLR ALMA Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on June 1, 2007 in Pasadena, California. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

As the result of a distribution deal with Sony, 23 Prince albums originally released from 1995 to 2010 are now available on major streaming services. Some were previously available on Tidal, but the widespread availability of these albums — some of which were originally released only to members of Prince’s NPG Music Club — will open a whole new world to millions of fans who have never or rarely heard this music. To help newbies navigate the re-released music, a 37-track Anthology: 1995-2010 compilation is also now online.

The albums, starting with 1995’s The Gold Experience and continuing to 2010’s 20Ten, date from a period of Prince’s career when he’d broken off from a relationship with Warner Bros. that he’d come to find hugely limiting. Working with a range of distributors and sometimes acting as his own distributor, Prince followed his own muse in these years and released music that varied wildly in sound and scope.

His 1997 album Crystal Ball, for example, made him the first major artist to sell an album directly to fans over the internet. His NPG Music Club became the venue for the direct release of albums like One Nite Alone (2002), which resulting from their limited distribution have been very rare.

Albums like the instrumental N.E.W.S (2003) challenged even hard-core fans, while releases like Musicology saw Prince reaching for a popular audience. Planet Earth (2007) was released in the U.K. via a strategy other artists would later emulate: copies were attached to the cover of an issue of The Mail on Sunday.

Ironically, what may be Prince’s best-known track from this period is not part of the digital release: “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (from The Gold Experience) is at least temporarily on hold due to a pending legal tussle, in Europe, over the song’s authorship.

Not sure where to begin with this cornucopia of funk? We’ve created a flowchart to get you started. You can also tune in to our Purple Current stream at noon CDT each day the week of August 20 to hear the best of this era.

Local music coverage is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

  • Brendan Loughrey

    Ha! Remember when you had to download your own Crystal Ball artwork, print it out and then try to cut it into a circle? I was like, let me buy this crap at Sam Goody. =;)

    • laytonian

      That was Prince, making you do it!

      • Albums like the instrumental N.E.W.S (2003) challenged even hard-core fans, while releases like Musicology saw Prince reaching for a popular audience. Planet Earth (2007) was released in the U.K. via a strategy other artists would later emulate: copies were attached to the cover of an issue of The Mail on Sunday.

  • ING

    It’s great these are available for those who missed out, but sad so many people ignored these releases in the first place….the anthology is weird and horribly tracked, but I guess it’s a nice start for the unaware… I say start with the wonderful 20Ten, since it was never released in the USA besides file sharing and eBay. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World in any form is still missing, as is the Lotusflower net only version track The Morning After, etc. so his releases still need a lot of work… not to mention the ridiculous post-humous releases… why on earth does a Purple Rain remaster not have bonus tracks that actually make sense? And seriously with all his mountains of unreleased material we next get an album of cassette recorded piano rehearsals that have literally been circulating in the bootleg world since the 80’s? And even that is an edited down set! Come on…I bet there’s even a Hit N Run 3 just laying there they could release… or his final concert, now that’s the piano and a mike I want! sloppy sloppy sloppy and sad.

  • ING

    Oh, this chart has an error…3121 is the address he gave that mansion, not it’s real address, I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to Psalms 31:21, not a talisman of any kind.

    • It may also have Biblical significance, but in fact it was the actual street address of a house Prince rented. http://www.princevault.com/index.php?title=Location:_3121_Antelo_Road

      • ING

        Interesting!!!, I only knew the 1235 Sierra Alto Way house was dubbed 3121 during the album’s promotion, and did not know there was another residence prior!!! He definitely told people to look it up in Psalms while doing the song live, though! Probably a happy coincidence form the first rental. Love that album!

  • ING

    So weird to see these once rare albums now can be downloaded by anyone with a library card via Freegal… of course, only 4 tracks per week per card, so it would take awhile to get them all, but still… I remember getting my copies of Planet Earth and 20Ten from a friend who had moved to England who bought the cover mounts for me and mailed them! And Crystal Ball I did mail order, the 5 CD version came with a booklet in a plastic ball like case with a booklet, nominally pace for an insert, so you only had to print the artwork if you wanted the fan designed version or normal CD case inserts, but yes the 4 CD version in stores came with inserts as well, but it was the same artwork as the mail order one not the self-print downloadable artwork. I wonder if that’s up on the Way Back Machine?