thedawn.com was launched on Valentine’s Day 1996 and is Prince’s first website. It launched with the eight-page wedding program, called Coincidence or fate? to mark the marriage of Prince and Mayte that day.
The domain takes the name of the triple album (The Dawn) Prince was working on at the time, however these were split out into two individual albums, The Gold Experience and Come and the remaining tracks forming part of Crystal Ball.
The website was later expanded to feature a chat room and offered sound and video samples of Prince’s latest and archive songs and footage. All music content was streamed; no downloadable content was available from this website. thedawn.com sold merchandise through what became one of the internet’s earliest online stores. Called Galleria this sold jewellery and apparel, and whilst also sold CDs both by Prince and other artists, all were already available and previously released.
The website later took on the function as the platform for Prince to state his side in running the commentary to his embittered dispute with Warner Brothers, which had reached its height thought the span of this website’s existence. The website was live at the time of the release of Emancipation, Prince’s first album released under a different mainstream record label than Warner. thedawn.com remained Prince’s main website until May 1997, when replaced by love4oneanother.com.
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