Why you won’t find Prince on YouTube and Spotify
Many elegant, articulate and moving tributes will be paid to Prince today and probably over the coming weeks. Like Bowie before him, the loss of Prince signifies 2016 as a devastating year for music legends - not just musicians, but true innovators and creative geniuses. It will depend on your age as to where your first memories of Prince will fall (mine kick in circa 1991, right about the time when Julia Roberts sung 'Kiss' charmingly off-key, in a bathtub, in Pretty Woman), and that's the beauty of music - it holds an intrinsically personal pull for each of us.
But as Prince's music undoubtedly climbs up the ARIA, Billboard, iTunes, Tidal charts (but not Spotify, more on that later) as we all seek to remember what we've lost - don't be too cynical. Yes, there will be a lot of fluff and oversaturated media content, but there's also one thing that we will all share - and that's the legacy of his music. As maudlin as it might sound, the fact that so many of us will be tuned into the work of the startlingly talented, Minneapolis-born artist, speaks to the sheer universality of music itself.
And while we wanted to aid you in your musical mourning with a few of our favourite videos, a quick search on YouTube reveals very little. Why? Prince was famously controlling of his image and was stringent about the copyright laws surrounding his music. As the digitalisation of music and media took hold in the late noughties, he managed to succeed in taking most of his YouTube videos down in 2007, releasing this statement at the time: "Prince feels very strongly about how his art is perceived and he doesn't want it remembered as grainy mobile phone footage from the back of the stadium. Prince's actions are a brave and pioneering step to challenge the status quo and hand control over Internet rights back to the artists." Arrogant as it may seem, we kinda love the dude for going against the flow.
In later years, Prince took huge pains to control where and how you could access his music. On Spotify today, you'll only find a single: 2015's 'Stare' on the service. Outspoken about the payment of royalties for musicians (a HUGE issue in the digital era), Prince famously only allowed the Jay-Z owned Tidal to stream his entire back catalogue - that, let's be honest, most of us will be wanting to listen to today. Given that Tidal pays its musicians twice the amount royalties compared to the rest of the streaming services - you can see why Prince licensed his back catalogue exclusively to it.
While you might be tempted to brush this off as the antics of a diva (albeit, a much deserving one), Prince's old-school stance on the importance of albums was best summed up as he presented the Grammy for Album of the Year at the 2015 awards. ""Like books and black lives, albums still matter," he said. Amen to that. Here are a few Prince videos that didn't escape his lawyers...
1. Presenting at the 2015 Grammys
2. 'Cream' (1991)
3. 'Purple Rain' live at the 2007 Superbowl
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