Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Man Formerly Known As Prince -- Now Known As Jerk, If Known At All

Or, how to screw up your reputation and alienate the business center of the entertainment world -- the internet.

Here is the story. Prince has spent quite a bit of time and energy cleansing the internet of anything that included his music. You may remember he attempted to get a YouTube video removed because one of his songs was playing in the background when parents were filming their toddler.

Recently he had a concert and he performed a cover of Radiohead's "Creep". Someone took a cell phone video and put it on YouTube with the inevitable result of being removed for violating DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998).

Thing is, the Radiohead guys, who own the song don't think it should have been pulled -- after all they own it:

All videos of Prince's unique rendition of Radiohead's early hit were quickly taken down, leaving only a message that his label, NPG Records, had removed the clips, claiming a copyright violation. But the posted videos were shot by fans and, obviously, the song isn't Prince's.

In a recent interview, Thom Yorke said he heard about Prince's performance from a text message and thought it was "hilarious." Yorke laughed when his bandmate, guitarist Ed O'Brien, said the blocking had prevented him from seeing Prince's version of their song.

"Really? He's blocked it?" asked Yorke, who figured it was their song to block or not. "Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment."

Yorke added: "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."


The dispute was an interesting twist in debates over digital ownership, held between two major acts with differing views on music and the Internet. Radiohead famously released their most recent album, "In Rainbows," as a digital download with optional pricing. They also have a channel on YouTube.

When Prince performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 26, he prohibited the standard arrangement of allowing photographers to shoot near the stage during the first three songs of his set. Instead, he had a camera crew filming his performance.

(Associated Press)

Prince removed his official website from the internet last September and has been unrelenting about removing all images, video, or audio traces online. In the process he has turned many fans into former fans! Shunning the internet is a strange business model for the music industry -- maybe it is some strange version of the Cartman business model (Episode "Cartmanland" -- Cartman denied people access to an amusement park so he could ride the rides without a line and people lined up to get in!)


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