“Soft and Wet,” Prince’s first-ever solo single, isn’t his most recognizable or celebrated record. As of this week, though, it’s the only Prince song for which you, an ordinary mortal, might be able to purchase rights to a co-writing credit. Chris Moon, a record producer and former owner of the Minneapolis studio where a teenage Prince recorded his first demo tape, is offering up his percentage of the “Soft and Wet” songwriting credits via EBay, the Star Tribune reports.
“Soft and Wet” is one of very few Prince songs to carry a non-Prince credit: Prince is its sole composer and performer, while both he and Moon are credited as lyricists. Owning a piece won’t come cheap, though. Moon is offering a buy-it-now price of $490,000, and prospective buyers can also make an offer. “I have enjoyed hearing the song countless times over the years, been paid well and am proud of it,” Moon wrote in his listing. “It has achieved everything and more for me so I feel it is time to pass the torch to a Prince fan who will continue to cherish and enjoy owning it as much as I have.”
What you won’t get for almost half a million bucks: The satisfaction of having actually worked with Prince; Prince’s publishing or licensing rights, which are an entirely different contractual tangle; nor, most likely, a particularly wise investment. The rise of music streaming has devalued songwriting royalties, and “Soft and Wet” was only a modest hit in the first place, charting at number 92 and appearing on Prince’s 1978 debut For You.
“Anyone who buys this probably shouldn’t be doing it for financial purposes,” Moon told the Star Tribune. “It’s more about owning one of the most unique collectibles ever related to Prince.” Moon admitted that he made more money off the song when MC Hammer sampled it on his own “She’s Soft and Wet” in 1990. The MC Hammer version appeared on the rapper’s album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em, which spent 21 weeks at number one.
The article was originally published by SPIN.