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Prince’s NPG Music Club Goes Dark After Legal Challenge

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Purple One’s online web community has been silenced, with the page at Prince's hugely popular actually showing only a black screen.

The Prince fan club website, which was launched on Valentine’s Day of 2001 and won an prestigious Webby Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year, has often been sighted as one of the most creative examples of an artist monetizing their relationship with their fans, according to Hypebot.

In a statement to his fans, Prince said that, “In it’s current 4m there is a feeling that the NPGMC gone as far as it can go,” but sources point to a legal issue behind the sudden fade to black.

Opposition to the use of the name NPG Music Club and NPG Records has been filed with the US Trademark Office by the UK-based HM Publisher’s Holdings, as it appears that Prince’s camp may not have properly protected the use of the name, and may have to battle to keep control over the brand he created. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 2007.

Hypebot confronts the question, “why not just rename the successful music club and keep it open?”, pointing out that Prince has always been famous for what seem to be impulsive business decisions, that turn out to be brilliant career moves.

Various clues to a newer, greater, NPG Music Club 2.0 seem to lace Prince’s statement to his fans, but one can only wait to find out where the Purple One will turn next.

Prince’s full statement is as follows:

Greetings Family,

The NPG Music Club has been in xistence 4 more than 5 years. In that time we've learned a great deal from each other and about this brave new online world we have all chosen 2 b part of. The members we have been 4tunate enough 2 have join r family have truly made this the best music club any artist could ever dream of. And all the things we have been a part of 2gether — the concerts, the celebrations, the soundchecks, the discussions and the un4gettable music – have shown us what a New Power Generation can truly b. We thank u from r hearts 4 sharing urselves and ur love of the music with all of us. It has been a blessing.

Once the NPG Music Club won the 2006 Webby Award, discussions within the NPG began 2 center on what was next. What's the next step in this ever-changing xperiment? The achievements of the past cannot be questioned and we r truly grateful 4 everything that has been accomplished. But in its current 4m there is a feeling that the NPGMC gone as far as it can go. In a world without limitations and infinite possibilities, has the time come 2 once again make a leap of faith and begin anew? These r ?s we in the NPG need 2 answer. In doing so, we have decided 2 put the club on hiatus until further notice.

The NPG Music Club was a first step; the lessons learned will last 4ever. Now comes a time of great reflection and restructuring. The future holds nothing but endless opportunity and we plan on seizing it wholeheartedly. Don't u want 2 come?

NPG Music Club 4ever

–by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers