After Suing Fans Sharing Bootlegs, Prince Says No One Sues Fans, Bootlegs Are Great & People Should Share Music

from the say-what-now? dept

You may recall that just a couple weeks ago Prince sued 22 fans for using Facebook to link to bootleg live recordings of Prince shows. This was not the first time that Prince has sued or threatened his fans over things. There were all sorts of problems with the lawsuit, many of which we detailed, but apparently none of it mattered, because a couple days later, he dropped the lawsuit.

The BBC has a wide-ranging interview with Prince in which he talks about a bunch of things. The responses are all paraphrased because apparently Prince refuses to be recorded during interviews, but when asked about the lawsuit, this is his almost nonsensical response:

There was a story last week saying he was taking a $22m … legal action against 22 internet users who allegedly posted copies of his live performances online. In response to that he simply said “Nobody sues their fans”, before adding: “I have some bootlegs of Lianne [La Havas] but I wouldn’t sell them. But fans sharing music with each other, that’s cool.”

Except, of course, he did sue his fans, and they weren’t selling his music, but sharing it with each other. So, either his lawyers are just running off and doing their own thing or Prince has no idea what the lawsuit was about. Or both. Either way, the lawsuit was based on his copyrights, and he should take responsibility for it. If it was filed mistakenly, he should own up to it.

Separately, one cool thing that Prince is apparently trying to do is shows with very cheap tickets: around $10 each. We’ll see if that actually happens, but it does remind me of when Louis CK worked to make his live shows more fan friendly, so it should be interesting to watch.

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Comments on “After Suing Fans Sharing Bootlegs, Prince Says No One Sues Fans, Bootlegs Are Great & People Should Share Music”

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ken (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Maybe because the RIAA and MPAA is constantly at war with tech and wants to control it.

Both the recording and movie industries combined amount to no more than 100 billion dollars while the tech industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry.

The relatively small recording and movie industry wants control and veto power over the tech industry.

That is why there is animosity.

Baron von Robber says:

Re: Re:

As a musician, you sound full of *#%$.

If peeps are sharing your music, you should feel good about that. Serious. If they are sharing you, they like you. Rejoice. The money will follow.

Hell did you know the peeps that do the Halftime Show at th Superbowl play for FREE?!

Think about this won’t you? Thank you.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

My god why do you geeks hate musicians so much?

Much as you love to spread this lie, nobody here hates musicians. Many of us here are musicians. Techdirt wants them to actually be successful – and fighting against your fans won’t make you successful.

1) You tell us give you our music for free and make up for it at live shows

Giving people our music for free, and making up for it at live shows, is how performing musicians have always made money. Musicians don’t, and have never, made anything more than a sliver of their income from royalties. Nine out of ten musicians on a major label never make a single dime from artists royalties; they sign to a label because it provides promotion, which leads to things like endorsements, selling merch, or live performance revenues – and those are the ways musicians make money.

The difference is that now we can give away our music to fans for free, rather than give away our music to labels for free. And those fans will end up paying us more than a label ever would.

Plus, Techdirt has never said it is a requirement that you give away music for free. They have always advocated for crowdfunding models like Kickstarter or Sellaband, and have advocated for subscription models like Pandora or Spotify. It is not necessary that musicians give away their music; what’s necessary is that fans (potential and actual) are able to experience it in the way that they want. They are, after all, your customers.

2) You tell us we should charge a little as possible at live shows to be and be’fan friendly.’

First of all, that will net good will with the fans, which can be leveraged in other ways.

Second of all, cheaper tickets do not translate to less money. It translates to many, many more people who can afford to see your live shows. If the balance is right, the increase in concert goers will more than make up for the difference in price. And if those concert goers could afford to pay more for a ticket, then they have more money to spend on your merchandise – and artists usually get a greater cut of the merch than they do of the ticket money.

Lowering prices will often result in greater overall profits. That’s basic economics.

Wally (profile) says:

Microsoft and Garry Larson...great examples

I recall Microsoft hiring a Fench company to crawl the web for infringing links only to discover that not only was their own legitimate website cited by the automated process…but was also a major PR disaster only outdone by Windows 8.

Then there is Garry Larson’s “The Far Side” cartoon that has a female chimp grooming her mate finding a blonde hair with the caption “So, you’ve been hanging around that Jane Goodall tramp again haven’t you?”…She subsequently fired her PR officer for suing Garry Larson…

So I’m inclined to believe the his lawyers were acting autonomously. Prince has always been quite anti-RIAA which is why he has a big reputation for protecting his works.

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