Prince, one of the most versatile and influential music acts of the past 30 years, refuses to release any more music until the Internet cleans up its act.
Best known for such hits as "Purple Rain," "Little Red Corvette," and "Let's Go Crazy," Prince claims he is sitting atop a treasure trove of unreleased songs and has no intention of offering them to the public while Web piracy goes unchecked.
"We made money [online] before piracy was real crazy," Prince said in an interview published last week in The Guardian, a British newspaper. "Nobody's making money now except phone companies, Apple and Google...It's like the gold rush out there. Or a carjacking. There's no boundaries."
Yes, it is summer. Prince is starting another European tour and he's helping promote it by making critical statements about the Internet and Web piracy. Prince has done this often enough by now to know that when he attacks the Web he's sure to get someone to pay attention.
Last year, Prince said the Internet was "outdated" and suggested it was unhip. This doesn't mean Prince's hatred for the Web and copyright infringement is insincere. With the exception of the rock group, Metallica, the singer's antipiracy credentials are unequaled by any other music act.
Is the Web outdated, or is it just Prince?
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He once demanded that a fan site remove all unauthorized copies of his music as well as photos of him. He launched a campaign called "Reclaim The Internet" and, as part of that, threatened to sue YouTube, eBay, and The Pirate Bay. He even went after the mother of a toddler who used a snippet of one of his songs in a video of the tyke dancing.
Every time Prince opens his mouth about the Web he reinforces the stereotype of a spoiled, out-of-touch pop star. For instance, in the Guardian interview he said that analog music is superior to digital because "it affects a different place in your brain" and that when you play back digital songs "you can't feel anything." He offered similar nonsense last year when he said during an interview with The Mirror: "All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."
Prince did offer one interesting revelation to The Guardian, saying he is supposed to go to the White House to talk about copyright protection. I'm looking into it.