Prince to release three albums in 2009

He'll put them out without a label

Prince has told the LA Times that he wants to release three new albums in 2009, but without the help of a record label.

The 50-year-old said he was in "final negotiations" with a major US retailer to distribute the music, which will also be made available online.

AC/DC and Guns N' Roses did exclusive deals with retailers Wal-Mart and Best Buy to sell their 2008 albums Black Ice and Chinese Democracy in the US.

Four new guitar-heavy songs of Prince's were premiered on LA radio station Indie 103 shortly before Christmas, including a cover of Tommy James And The Shondells' Crimson And Clover and a blues jam called Colonized Mind.

According to LA Times journalist Ann Powers, these tracks will form part of an album called Lotus Flower. Powers was recently summoned to Prince's mansion to hear the new material.

"Needless to say, it was an amazing experience," she wrote on the LA paper's website.

"New ways of recording"

The second album will be a return to the electronic sound of When Doves Cry, says Powers, and will be called MPLSOUND - a reference to the star's hometown of Minneapolis. A Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-Tip guests and Prince says he has been experimenting with "new ways of recording".

The third record of 2009 will be a co-effort with Prince protege Bria Valente, which was recorded because "we got sick of waiting for Sade to make a new album".

Whether these plans will actually come to fruition remains to be seen. Prince's career has been punctuated by unfinished or abandoned albums - most famously 1987's Black Album, which was withdrawn just weeks before its planned release.

Prince's last album, 2007's Planet Earth, was given away in the UK with The Mail On Sunday newspaper and thus did not chart. In the US, it peaked at 3 on the Billboard chart and has sold nearly 300,00 copies.

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