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I Was Dreaming When I Wrote This…

July 7, 2010

Once again, we done pissed off musical legend Prince Rogers Nelson! This time for not immediately tossing our iPads and other digital devices into the trash upon his declaration the internet was over! “The Internet’s like MTV,” The purple one mistakenly told UK Daily Mirror, “At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.” If you are detecting a note of sour grapes from an artist who despite having a rabid fanbase, still hasn’t figured out how to liberate kajillions of spacebucks from them; you might be on to something. I have done everything I could to stay on the Purple one’s good side. I have not illegally downloaded the blizzard of mediocre post Diamonds & Pearls recordings, nor have I purchased them through legal channels. I have not taking his name in vain, and for the most part, do not mention him at all. From Gonzo’s Music-o-Rama‘s insightful and hilarious post entitled, “It’s Hard Out There for a Prince (Fan)”:

Back to the matter at hand. The Prince of 2010 shuns web distribution of music because the Internet is “over” and “unhip.” Pray tell, if you aren’t distributing music digitally in 2010 (even via legal routes), where do you turn? Newspapers. I wish I were joking.

While not being entirely dismissive of Prince’s concerns about our new digital overlords, I’m wonder how his rantings are any different than the guy who used to stand in front of Border’s on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and yell at me – he also wore white heeled boots. I love you, Prince and I want those damn kids to stay off your lawn too! That said, I think you’re off base here; missing a tremendous opportunity to introduce a wealth of songs with titles written in Yahoo!Answers grammar to a new generation of fans, who oddly enough get most of their music from that technological equivalent to the lava lamp – the internet.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2010 6:41 am

    That’s a great post by Gonzo analyzing the interweb failures over the years — I had no idea! I mean, I knew that he hadn’t quite figured out how to capitalize on the medium, but I didn’t know the details of flame outs along the way. I remember Prince being named one of the highest paid musicians in 2004 because of Musicology (which I purchased at Tower, before THAT went under), because he came up with combining concert tickets and CD sales. He’d do much better to find ways to make money off of limited live concerts, I think — he probably just cashed a pretty big check recently for a Super Bowl show.

  2. July 7, 2010 7:11 am

    This woman has an interesting breakdown on the full interview quote:
    http://kara.allthingsd.com/20100707/making-fun-of-prince-is-easy-figuring-out-how-talent-thrives-in-a-digital-age-not-so-much/

    It’s a salient point and not so different as Prince’s saying: “I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”

    If you remove the sillier parts of his quote that preceded it, such a statement is not unreasonable from an artist who wants to be paid for his creative efforts. Thus, instead of mocking that sentiment, perhaps it is time for tech leaders to figure out a way to keep talent from being dragged into the future without so much kicking and screaming.

  3. July 7, 2010 8:17 am

    The artist formerly known as is in pretty good company; wasn’t it Bill Gates who once pronounced the Internet as something for 13 year olds? Oh wait, he did eventually realize there was some money to be made in the thing.

  4. Alyx Vesey permalink
    July 7, 2010 8:44 am

    Oh, Prince. Like many older superstars, you’re far too preoccupied with your mountain of money to notice other ways to maximize your market potential to new/younger generations of fans.

    On that tack, I find it frustrating how difficult it can be to access his music videos on the Web without some digging. Almost none of them are available on YouTube and I don’t seem to recall any DVD packages entering the marketplace (I do remember the VHS video compilation from the early 90s). I think this furthers how overlooked those clips are. It seems that when folks talk about 80s pop stars and music videos, they point toward Madonna and the Jacksons (Michael, Janet). In that time, Prince was responsible for several provocative and interesting music videos, some of which look like they were made at a fraction of the cost.

  5. July 7, 2010 9:59 am

    That’s a great post by Gonzo analyzing the interweb failures over the years — I had no idea! I mean, I knew that he hadn’t quite figured out how to capitalize on the medium, but I didn’t know the details of flame outs along the way.

    I remember everyone of his notable e-commerce failures and I do think once or twice I was actually taken by Prince. It was funny to read them all in one place. Will all of his failures listed in one place it’s clear where the fault lies.

  6. July 7, 2010 10:03 am

    Will all of his failures listed in one place it’s clear where the fault lies.

    It’s like that person who tells stories of their five car crashes and none of them were their fault. Ok, but I’m driving.

  7. July 7, 2010 10:05 am

    The artist formerly known as is in pretty good company; wasn’t it Bill Gates who once pronounced the Internet as something for 13 year olds? Oh wait, he did eventually realize there was some money to be made in the thing.

    The unfortunate part is other artists who have worked with Prince are also affected by his unwillingness to allow access to his vast music catalog, which includes The Bangles, Chaka Khan and Jesse Johnson.

  8. evmaroon permalink
    July 7, 2010 10:38 am

    Also a shame is that his legacy of giving other people their start in the music biz has faded to near invisibility. And I’m no fan of iTunes or the other crap music executives have come up with, either. Artists have been getting screwed by music labels since Edison figured out how to record sounds on little tubes. It sucks that in the midst of artists’ anguish around compensation, consumers are forgotten, too. I keep wondering when a real, lasting music industry revolution will happen.

  9. July 7, 2010 10:49 am

    It was always Michael Jackson v. Prince. Of course, Michael had a huge head start, being an international superstar by the age of 9. But the Purple one definitely made strides with his film and album of the same name, though admittedly nowhere near Thriller (and can you imagine if THAT album was a soundtrack to a film?) people started choosing up sides.

    In his HBO comedy special from 2004, “Never Scared,” Chris Rock declared that in the battle between MJ and Prince, Prince won! And, at the time, it seemed to be true. Michael had been through a whole lotta mess… the surgeries, the amusement park as a backyard, the marriages, the drug stuff, the court cases and hanging out with people like Liza and Liz, the kids. Oh, and the music, which nobody was getting… which meant nobody was getting it!

    But now, in (don’t sue me!) sudden death overtime… it seems that Prince is the one that is coming off as a little more crazy than his late lamented counterpart. In fact, he might be a whole lot more crazy (at least in some respects). So let me play wrangler for Prince and see if we can’t at least keep people from thinking he’s lost all of his paisley marbles.

    Hey Prince! Listen up. I know you think that what you say carries the same weight today as in 1984, but back then, the only things you were saying were to your dance grooves on vinyl and compact disc. Hell, you barely spoke to Dick Clark when you appeared on “American Bandstand!”

    So, first, make statements that people understand: record a great new album with the dance beats and material that people want to get in ANY form. We’ll worry about the “how” of getting it AFTER you finish the tracks.

    Next, be current. If you start making statements like “the internet is no good,” you’re sounding like you’re ready for a rocking chair, not rock n’ roll. So, if you want people to listen, you have to say something worth hearing.

    Once the album is done (you’ve started recording, right?) you have to do a world tour and this is where the action really can be, when you launch a new website, get some streaming video from the various places you’ll play, some behind the scenes stuff, leak a track to the fans, or let them download a live performance. Embrace the internet, Prince. This is the new reality!

    We all understood why you did the whole symbol thing with Warner Records. It was one of the most outrageous stunts an artist ever pulled against their employer, and for that you have our undying respect. But to truly be able to make any statement to the people who were, are and could be your fans, you have to understand that we aren’t trying to abuse you! So don’t stomp in, tell us we’re wrong to do what we’re doing and leave it at that. If you think something is wrong, you better have an alternative ready to show, otherwise you’re just being lame!

    So, to sum it all up: record something great before you get all demanding. Don’t try to change the world by being a cry baby. And, if all else fails, take a tip from your teenaged self and SHUT UP!

  10. July 7, 2010 11:03 am

    @nycpenpusher: *****WILD APPLAUSE*****

  11. July 7, 2010 11:54 am

    If Prince had made this comment in the late 90s/early 00s it would be embarrassing but he could eat a little crow, say he didn’t realize what an unstoppable juggernaut the Internet would become and then embrace it and make it work its flawed magic for him. Instead he says it now, when we see how the Internet has made it possible for dozens and dozens of pop stars to catapult to fame and recognition in a way they never quite did before and he just seems so painfully out of step and out of date. Especially in a time when lots of kids would consider his finest hour to be “oldies” (no, seriously, take that one in for a minute) and wouldn’t know who he was from Adam. It’s kind of a bummer seeing as how Prince once was so fantastic. But he hasn’t done something that’s really recaptured the old him in a long time.

  12. July 7, 2010 12:19 pm

    @nycpenpusher: *****WILD APPLAUSE*****

    Seriously. That was amazing. I find myself less and less compassionate for Prince’s plight given that his statements of late have scanned a little bit bonks. The music industry has evolved and for better or worse, artists need to dance with the one who brought them until they can find other means of getting product directly into the hands of consumers.

  13. July 7, 2010 12:28 pm

    I didn’t even know he’s been a Jehovah’s Witness for 10 years! That explains a lot (not trying to hate!). Seriously, my SO’s grandparents are JWs and they have some really crazy ideas. It’s kind of funny and all that out-of-touchness just makes me love him more. Especially remembering the Chappelle’s Show sketch about Charlie Murphy and co. playing basketball with Prince and his crew and getting their asses beat. And then eating pancakes with him.
    “Game: Blouses”

  14. July 7, 2010 5:51 pm

    God, I hope that his freaky Prince powers work. Then I want him to take on all of the Disney sanctioned music.

    “The JoBro are so unhip. Everybody knows that alpacas are where it’s at.”

  15. July 7, 2010 7:22 pm

    So Prince has finally reached this point. Well, the internet as a whole is like the ultimate realm of undisciplined chaos, and for all his wild antics, Prince has always been a control freak. This is a guy who likes to play every single instrument on a song to make sure it sounds exactly the way he imagines it.

    Way to go, dude. If you want to tilt at windmills, you couldn’t have picked a better one.

  16. July 7, 2010 8:12 pm

    If you want to tilt at windmills, you couldn’t have picked a better one.

    hahahaha. truth.

  17. July 7, 2010 10:13 pm

    @heather eff – hahahaah. zing.

  18. July 8, 2010 9:45 am

    Oh Prince, I love you, but you’ve just taken another step towards The Tin Foil Beannie Album.

  19. paradi permalink
    July 8, 2010 10:45 am

    I have done everything I could to stay on the Purple one’s good side.

    This belongs on a T-shirt. Unfortunately, you couldn’t sell it online.

  20. July 8, 2010 11:53 am

    This belongs on a T-shirt. Unfortunately, you couldn’t sell it online.

    @paradi… that made me LOL!

  21. July 10, 2010 3:07 am

    I want to think that this weekend’s Wonderella comic was maybe partially inspired by this post.

  22. July 10, 2010 4:13 am

    That comic is niiiiice. My favorite line: “My Raspberry Berets will deal with U shortly.”

  23. July 10, 2010 3:23 pm

    Wonderella is always full of hilarity and spot-on references.

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