Quick Hits: Prince criticizes U2; GigaOM discusses pre-1972 debate; Spotify holds artist info sessions; Echo Nest profile

Brief news items and worthy reads from around the Internet:

Prince criticizes U2: Calling the band’s controversial distribution agreement with Apple a “designer deal,” Prince (who recently released his own new album), Prince speaks out for all other bands and artists whose value might be diminished by the idea that music is free.

Do lawsuits for pre-1972 royalties threaten digital music?: That is the question posed and answered by this GigaOM column. A new royalty cost excised by the U.S. goverment should go to up-and-coming musicians, not oldies bands, reasons Jeff John Roberts. Also, as other have noted, the state court lawsuits create confusion in what is normally federal copyright law.

Spotify’s semi-secret info sessions: Digital Music News reported that Spotify is hosting information sessions aimed at educating artists about how royalties work at the streaming service. The events, with are being coordinated by the Music Managers’ Forum and the Featured Artists’ Coalition, are scheduled to take place in New York City, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Although they have claimed an air of secrecy, the fact that media is reporting on the action makes that claim dubious.

What’s up at The Echo Nest: While Spotify tends to dominate the music news, the Boston Business Journal ran a spotlight on The Echo Nest, which is the source of all the interesting, data-driven stories coming out of the streaming service’s new blog. CEO Jim Lucchese talked about the group’s current projects and future plans.

Brad Hill