The Eagles' manager Irving Azoff: "'As much as The Eagles are making on sales of [now] 8.5 million albums around the world, it pales in comparison to the touring revenue. The business is going to have to wake up and realize that recorded music sales are an ancillary business.'"
Sorta explains Prince. Also, if the sale should be the start, not the end goal, of any artist-listener interaction—as Seth Godin says, buying music should "get you into a club, a club with continuing benefits"—that's awfully bad news for artists who aren't compelling beyond the recording.
And there's this, a note on how The Eagles' Wal-Mart exclusive CD sold in cities with no Wal-Marts: "'Wal-Mart has tremendous resources that no label could afford to bring to the party [getting premium placement in the front of the store and at the registers] in addition to what they spent on TV, circulars, and radio advertising....The Wal-Mart circular goes to 85 million households. There are 140 million people per week shopping at Wal-Mart. And with the Internet, people are just as happy to go online to buy a CD. Also, Virgin [in New York City] was selling it [because they went to Wal-Mart and bought it for $11.88] and put their sticker over it and priced it at $15.98 or $17.98. They marketed it up. They got their normal margin.'" Hilarious.