Prince: No Music On The Internet; The Internet Is Over

from the maybe-if-we-made-the-internet-purple dept

Remember back in the day when it seemed like Prince was the musician who really had figured out these new digital-era business models? He had done all these interesting experiments, many of which focused on selling new and unique scarcities, and not worrying so much about the infinite goods in the music. Honestly, it seemed like he was the first real "rock star" to be willing not to just experiment, but to embrace the digital era. But all that came crashing down really, really quickly when a few things became apparent. First, while he loved to experiment with new business models, he didn't seem to actually pay attention to the results. In fact, it became evident that he had little follow through ability at all. He would just throw stuff out there, with promises to his fans, and then not follow through at all.

Second, when it came to Prince and his music, he is all about control. Control is everything to him. And one thing that does not work in this new digital era is being ridiculously anal about controlling how others access or listen to your music. So, he went somewhat ballistic, suing various internet sites for copyright infringement, including YouTube and eBay, which were both odd choices. Since then, he's walled himself off further and further from the internet. Rather than embrace it, he seems to want to deny it exists all together.

And, it appears, he's now taking that to a new extreme.

Jeremy2020 points us to a recent interview with Prince by the Mirror out of the UK. Most of the interview just highlights the bizzaro "Prince World" that Prince lives in. On that subject, if you have never seen Kevin Smith's brilliant and hilarious half-hour discussion of his brief time in "Prince World," it's totally worth your time. Having seen that, the interview itself doesn't seem quite so bizarre, but does seem like "Prince-as-usual."

But, within the interview, Prince notes that his new album will only be released on CD, and not online. In fact, it looks like he's doing the exact same CD release strategy he's done before: release the album with a newspaper. If you subscribe to the newspaper, you get a free copy of the CD. The newspaper pays Prince a huge upfront, so he gets tons of guaranteed cash, and it helps the newspaper keep subscriptions. I actually think that part's pretty creative, even though he's done it before. But you would think that fits well with an internet strategy. Not according to Prince:
He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There'll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses.

Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.

He says: "The internet's completely over. 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.

"The internet's like MTV. 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."
Of course, this won't keep Prince's music offline. The music will be online in no time at all, and it'll be everywhere, except that Prince won't have any control or say in it whatsoever. But, of course, if he thinks it's over and outdated and no good at all, he won't notice that because he won't be online.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    actually, if his music does go online, it would be an interesting legal case. nobody could say it got there legally.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:41am

    Lucky for us, his view on the internet only applies to his latest album, the older ones are still available to us. It would be a shame to have him pull those as well, but he hasn't got complete control over those.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    20TEN, coming to a torrent, usenet, ed2k, limewire client near you on Saturday!

     

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    Pixelation, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Never liked it anyway

    Once again Prince loses the plot. Next he'll lock himself in his room and come out once every year or so. Hopefully.

    Never cared for his music much anyway.

    This will be a good test to see how his sales do.

     

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    crade (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    What he says in your quote makes sense to me, not so much anti-internet as a simple decision not to use it because he can get a better deal elsewhere.

    "The internet's completely over."
    Hyperbole.

    "They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it. "
    Probably he got more money from the Mirror if it gets an exclusive deal.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    While I respect his relatively close embrace of new business models, Prince still has a lot to learn.

    For example, the CD/newspaper release it pretty good for getting exposure and gets him income - presumably on a basis that nets him profit even if the newspaper itself doesn't sell.

    But, I live in an area of Spain that's quite popular with British tourists in July. Due to copyright reasons, whenever a UK newspaper gives away a free DVD or CD, it's not available here (even though the paper sometimes costs 5x the price). So, tens or hundreds of thousands of tourists are going to be out of the country on the day the paper goes on sale. They miss that copy of the paper, and they're usually not available when they return from holiday. But, they want the Prince CD. What do they do?

    "Pirate" it, of course! His refusal to licence the album online will INCREASE the "piracy" because there's literally no other way to get the CD! No residual income from iTunes, nobody is able to give him any more money from CD sales (though there will be a lot of 2nd hand ones on eBay). Very, very short-sighted.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:04am

      Re:

      Oh, and thanks Mike for the Kevin Smith reference. Between that and the Superman anecdote, anyone who thinks the entertainment industry knows what it's doing should be ashamed of themselves.

       

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      crade (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      It is a simple risk management decision. He chooses guarenteed dollars now rather than risk the market and possibly get more (or less should the CD do badly) in the long run. Now he has already been paid completely, what does he care if the CD is pirated?

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re:

        ...but, if he allowed the album to be sold on iTunes, he would get the revenue for the paper PLUS the revenue for iTunes.

        It still makes no sense. If he licensed digitally, all the people excluded from the paper would still be able to give him money, no matter how many people "pirated" the CD...

         

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          crade (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your assuming he can get the same deal with the newspaper if he maintained the rights to sell the album elsewhere as well. I expect that is not the case.

           

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          OldGreyTroll (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          See what Crade said above. He wants Apple to take the gamble on how well the album will sell by giving him an advance. He wants guaranteed income even if the album bombs.

          Nice work if you can get it.

           

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    Garrett, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    So.... "the internet's completely over", but compact discs aren't?

    If you are going that path, why not just release on 8-track? So much harder to rip

     

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    Nathan, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Reverse Psych?

    what if...it's all a case of reverse psychology

    What better way to get your name/cause/music blasted all over the interwebs than by making a case like this.

    Perhaps its pure genius

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Reverse Psych?

      What better way to get your name/cause/music blasted all over the interwebs than by making a case like this.

      That's what I am thinking, too. He gets paid for his album, plus he gets tons of publicity.

      If the idea is to give away the album for the exposure, he's done even better this way.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Remember

    Remember when Prince said his name was a combination of the male and female symbols. Totally unprouncable! Everyone called him, "the artist formally known as Prince". This lasted until a New York DJ announced that the combination of the male and female symbols was pronounce "IDIOT".

    I repeat, IDIOT!

     

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      Jason Bailey, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 11:20am

      Re: Remember

      Although there is a lot to ridicule Prince about. I have to actually bring up the reasoning behind this particular situation. From what I understand, Prince found himself basically indentured to a record label. Due to a contract he signed, he had almost no creative control.
      In a way to mess with the record label, he did the minimal that his contract demanded. He would show up for presentations and have "Slave" written on his face. He changed his name to make it difficult for the record label. When his contract demanded that he produce a video he would. However the contract never stated that he had to release it. Just have one made. Which leads to the surreal experience that Kevin Smith ran into.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Prince

    Who? Is he important?

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Purple Pain

    I'm in Australia and I don't see any of our local papers carrying a free Prince album - not the last one so I doubt this one - thanks, Ponce! In fact, I didn't even know there had been an album since 2006's "3121".

    So I guess I will have to buy it off eBay considering it was only as a giveaway in a newspaper. Oh, wait, Prince says eBay is evil for selling his music without compensating him. Then how the fuzzy am I meant to get it legitimately? Move to England?

    This is the second time tonight I've read about this. All I can say is that in MY OPINION (which does not necessarily reflect the opinion of TechDirt although I hope they get a good laugh out of it) the reason Prince is so short is because he's got his head so far up his @$$

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    "They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

    Perhaps someone should tell prince that his CD's are full of 1 and 0's.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      Or that some theorize that the entire universe is basically one big Turing Complete mechanism, in which case it's ALL just 1's and 0's....

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        Let's see now Turing was English therefore England is digital, therefore Great Britain is digital, therefore Europe is digital therefore....follow this long enough an you'll find that Prince hisself is digital and in digital denial though you may find he lives in one of those 2D Flatworlds!

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          He'd have to be part of it, otherwise it wouldn't be a Turing Complete!

          Actually, I've been doing a lot of reading on Digital Mechanics/Philosophy, using it in the novel I'm now writing. Really, REALLY interesting stuff (if you can grasp the math at a basic level)....

           

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      Gwiz, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:51am

      Re:

      I personally would rather have numbers instead of his crappy music in my head.

       

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      charliebrown (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:00pm

      Re:

      "They just fill your head with mubers" ~ Prince on digital devices

      "Perhaps someone should tell Prince that his CD's are full of 1's and 0's" ~ Hephaestus, commenting on this story

      Does anything else need to be said? Nope: That was brilliant!

       

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    TSO, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Reminds me...

    "God is dead.
    -- Bill.

    Bill is dead.
    -- God."

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: Coach outlet

    Great, and I can't even report your stupidity w/the buttons....

     

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    RadialSkid, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Chaka mad. Chaka real mad.

     

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    JR Smith (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Gotta wonder: Can this guy's ego possibly get any larger? I've never bought so much as one song by Prince nor have I ever downloaded one.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    For Prince, the internet IS over.

    Of course, the fact that Prince thinks the internet is over won't stop it for the rest of the world. Prince will just get left behind along with everything else that's no longer relevant in a digital world.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:52am

      Re: For Prince, the internet IS over.

      Kinda sad though. Him sitting in that 70,000 sq foot house all alone. It reminds me of the movie "interview with the Vampire" Where tom cruise was sitting in the rocking chair in an abandoned house, all covered in dust ...

       

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    IOERROR, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    I'm pissed..

    I can't read or write so what good does a news paper do for me? So I have to be deprived of his new CD because I never made it past the 1st grade? This sucks. I'm going to go watch a closed caption film and pretend I know whats going on. =o)

     

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    AdamR (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Thank the recording industry for blowing so much smoke up his ass. They thought they could control him and have now unleashed this moron to the world.

     

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    V (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Prince sucks anyway...nothing good nor creative since Raspberry Beret.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    This is the same Prince who rewarded his hardcore fans who paid good money to subscribe to his website by charging them, even though the website no longer existed....

     

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    Jamie, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    actually, Prince forgot the one important fact, the internet is for porn and porn alone :D

     

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    stokessd, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Wanna bet?

    >He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD
    >format only in the Mirror. There'll be no downloads anywhere
    >in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet
    >abuses.

    Call me crazy, but I'm guessing there WILL be downloads of his music assuming it's worth downloading.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    NO PRINCE the BULLSHIT IS OVER

    loser what a damn loser , your finished fool
    goto gene simmons and BUY a KISS casket and we can bury you and him together in it

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    @7

    and i too can get a better deal not going where he wants to sell and support idiots in mansions with yacht building programs while people starve and have no fun at all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    What is a CD?

     

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    sehlat (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    So where's the problem?

    This is the singer formerly known as Prince and now known as Prince again. If his music disappears, could somebody please tell me how is this a problem?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Ill download it just to delete it.

     

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    Whitey French, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Prince

    Prince who?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Who is Prince?

     

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    charlie potatoes (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Smirk

    Just what, exactly, does he think he is the prince of?

     

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    Prince J., Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Just another example...

    Just another example of how drugs rot the brain.


    THE INTERNET IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE INTERNET!

     

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    Chris, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Yeah, he's kinda lost his marbles, I think. I do hope he keeps making music. It'll be a sad day when he gives up completely. He should just stick to selling live performances on DVD (or whatever the latest video format is). That's where he shines anyway.

     

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    Nick Mc, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Internet Is Over

    Must be why I'm getting 404 errors. Stop being such a nob, Prince, and turn the damned tubes back on again.

     

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    Grey Ferret, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    Maybe not so stupid...

    How much publicity would Prince's new album get if he hadn't made such a comment? Nowhere near as much as it's getting now, that's for sure.

    What better way to get free advertising on the internet than to come out and say "the internet is dead". Whether its stupid or brilliant, it's working.

     

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    Technopolitical (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 4:59am

    Kudos to Prince-- for protecting Artist Control RIGHTS

    MIKE : ...Prince and his music, he is all about control. Control is everything to him. And one thing that does not work in this new digital era is being ridiculously anal about controlling how others access or listen to your music. So, he went somewhat ballistic."


    Me : It is all about Artistic CONTROL not $$ , as I have been proclaiming here for a while.

    Glad you agree Mike.

    Kudos to Prince-- for protecting Artist Control RIGHTS

     

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      Valkor, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:01am

      Re: Kudos to Prince-- for protecting Artist Control RIGHTS

      Moral Rights (i.e. artistic control) do not exist in US Copyright law.

      Fail.

       

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        Technopolitical (profile), Jul 7th, 2010 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re: Kudos to Prince-- for protecting Artist Control RIGHTS

        Clearly Prince proves you are wrong.

        Your "words" are meaningless,

        And out of step with the realities of how COPYRIGHTS give Musicians complete control over legal distribution of their music.

        The Gov't & law will fight the Pirates for Prince [& me.]

         

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    Bapzzy (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Prince = MJ

    Am I right?
    Prince doesn't like elephants and monkeys though.

     

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    alternatives(), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    The Internet existed long before MP3s

    And will existed long after Prince is dead and buried. (barring a big collapse)

    Say MP3 could no longer exist there. Given the 'cut the cable move to hulu' articles and Spam - MP3s are not the biggest part of Internet traffic.

     

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    Tammie Willard, Dec 10th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    prince undeniably the best entertainer next to Mr. Jackson

    I love Prince music. I do. But to take off internet, store shelves, YouTube ok that's him making sure he gets his dollars. But one thing about it whenever he dies it will be all over the place. So, he can not give us his musin now, but we will DAMN sure get it later. B-)

     

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