Million $Show is the first track on Prince’s 38th album Hitnrun Phase One.
Similar to the pre-recorded DAT intros played prior to live shows, the track begins with snippets of past Prince songs: For You (the opening track from Prince’s first album For You), 1999 (the opening track from 1999) and Let’s Go Crazy (from Purple Rain).
Appropriately, the track was premiered over the PA prior to the opening of a live show, on 9 April 2015, Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI, USA (a date on the so-called Hit n' Run Tour). Because of the inclusion of samples from other past tracks, it wasn’t immediately clear if the new component was simply a sample of a longer track.
While specific recording dates are not known, it is assumed that a studio version of the track was recorded in early 2015, most likely at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Horn overdubs took place in July 2015, also at Paisley Park Studios. Some editing also took place, removing some vocals by Prince at the beginning of the song saying "Welcome 2 the million dollar show / Don’t fear the fro". The track includes co-lead vocals by Judith Hill.
While promoting the album in an interview with Smokey D. Fontaine prior to its release, the background behind this track was discussed, with Prince tying it in to his ongoing issues with record companies and the inherent value behind artistic work:
- “They’ve just set up another system that you have to go through to get your work out. They don’t give you any money to help you create the music or to promote anything. But they want you to send all your work to them, for free, and then just wait for a check. How is that fair?
- “And then they ask you to perform for them for free!” he exclaims. “They’re going to take your show and sell it to advertisers, right? So they think artists are stupid.
- “But when I had my assistant call [the networks] back to tell them what my price was for me and the band, then they knew better…” (“The day he made that call was the night we recorded HITNRUN’s Million Dollar Show ” Welton tells me later.)