Prince

Dear Prince

I’m glad to see that your strong armed tactics against your own fans are starting to get some more media attention. Your hired goons (Web Sheriff, your legal team, et al) have been trawling the internet for copyright violations. Going after sites that post your released works? Totally understandable. But threatening your most loyal fan sites for posting pictures of Prince-inspired tattoos, license plates, and any image or likeness of you? Universal Music Group going after a young mother on your behalf for posting a video of her toddler dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy”? Come on, Kid.

Don’t forget how you got where you are now. It’s people like me who have spent our hard earned money on concert tickets to see you over the last 20-30 years. It’s people like me who have purchased every last piece of art you’ve released. We’re the ones who carried you through the tough times.

We bought New Power Soul.

We bought Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

We paid to see Graffiti Bridge on opening night in a movie theater, for crying out loud!!

We bought your “internet only” Crystal Ball 3 disc set in a cheap plastic ball with no booklet, only to find it in Best Buy a few weeks later for less money, with normal packaging and a booklet! Man, I almost fell off the boat on that one.

Give this one a rest, Prince. Enough is enough. You’ve been a pioneer in so many ways, including your use of the internet to further your career. You seem to be savvy in so many ways. And your Jehovah’s Witness-ness seems to find you in a good place spiritually.

But the threats directed at your most loyal supporters, and your obsession with tracking down all copyright “violators” – as you choose to define them – seems… counterproductive. You know the clichés: shooting yourself in the foot… biting the hand that feeds you.

I’ve removed all images of you on this web site. I have permanently shut down my Prince forum, a place where a hundred or so like-minded people from all over this world gathered to discuss your art. This is what you want? You don’t see that sites like this benefit you more than hurt you?

Your music has been a huge part of my life for the last 24 years, and will be for the next 24 too. You’ve hooked a lot of us in, and call us crazy, but we – the hardcore supporters – are still going to support you – we’re still going to hit the record store or iTunes on release day.

But beyond what is your totally legitimate right to have full control over your music and how it is disseminated to the public, give us a break on the rest of it, will you? We’re here to help you. And going after the internet this voraciously is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge – once you think you’re done, it’s time to start all over. There has to be a happy medium, my friend.

I’d much rather promote your latest projects and live gigs (and bring in a few new fans in the process). But for the foreseeable future, it looks like I’m relegated to posting pictures of Prince spaghetti and whining about copyrights and web sheriffs.

11/8 Update: from the PFU web site….

PFU has been contacted by Prince’s Management and we are currently in discussions.
We are hopeful that an amicable resolution can be reached wherein all can co-exist peacefully on the internet. However, if the talks are unsuccessful, the Prince Fans United Group vows to continue its fight. In the meantime, Prince has provided “Prince Fans United” with the song named “PFUnk” for your listening pleasure. [emphasis mine]

Go to PFU to listen to “PFUnk”. Camille returns…

20 Comments

  • kels

    After reading all the news sites coverage of this, I rushed here and found exactly what I was looking for – the best commentary on the issue. Well put. His hard-core fans buy every album and single (multiple times on multiple formats); sell out EVERY show he ever plays – and so THEY are the ones he’s attacking. Yes, he is a creative genius, but he has no soul. Using the word “slave” to represent his unfair $100 million dollar record deal? I’m sure he got group hugs from fans whose ancestors worked in cotton fields with whip marks on their backs. And as for the music, let’s not forget about turds like N.E.W.S., the Darth Vader on downers Rainbow Children, Goldnigga and the most vile piece of crap in his catalog: the anti Jewish, anti-White rants he makes from the stage on the One Night Alone live box set. I will always be interested in what “the artist” does musically, but as a person, Prince is just like Christopher Tracy: completely dead to me.

  • Michael

    Love it or hate it these actions are not too far from his normal raison d’être. I could not have written this better myself. I’ve gladly purchased everything over the years. Heck, I even LIKED Graffiti Bridge (there, I said it) and Under The Cherry Moon. You make a good point here though. We’ve carried him through the tough times. As I see it, things are not so tough for our Purple friend at the moment. 21 sold out nights plus the residence in Vegas equals a whole heap of profit as I see it. And it always seems that when he’s flush with earnings is when he appreciates his fans the least. I just hope that someone grabs him and shakes him up. Tell him that he’s nuts for going after his fans in this fashion and to learn from the mistakes of the likes of Metallica who effectively alienated their entire fan base with their part in going after Napster.

  • jazzmaster

    Thank you, Pete!

    I’ve been waiting to see what you had to say since all this started getting crazy. And, being the snazzy writer you are, you did a fantastic job.

    Yep. He’s being a prick.

  • bagan

    Dear Pete & Michael,

    Thank you for your great statements about The Prince who turned into a nightmare for the ones who loved him by heart … and followed him through any good or bad times (… and purchased everything they could buy). I was so sick, frustrated & angry what happend at your side and over here in Europe within the past weeks (… and it ain’t over yet) that I just wanted to turn away from this all (… why continue to love an Artists who hates his most dedicated followers ???). Hope to get better soon; until then …

    Peace & B Wild … and LOVE to both of ‘Ya … Marco (bagan)

  • Justin

    Once upon a time there was this really cool Prince forum where people could share their love of Prince’s music……..
    Nice to see a Prince post again Pete. Really miss the forum. I see the legal attack wasn’t limited to just you.
    Funny how this whole mess has inspired Prince’s to bring out one of his FUNKIEST tracks in a LOOOOONNNGGG time.
    That joint is killer.

  • Modulus

    Well said Pete.

    Man, I remember trying to turn people on to Prince during the GB era (“check it out, he’s sampling Jimi!”) but I haven’t had much cause lately. Prince fans are certainly loyal, I’ll give us that. I’ll still be around for every note he puts out. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it when he’s lazy. Kid’s spending too much time surfing and not enough time being challenged musically.

    That new tune is the perfect example… he gets a bug up his bottom and comes up with some funky stuff. But the public got Chelsea Rodgers.

    “An Artist…. used to be Artistic…”

    …now vamp for 5 minutes.

  • skittles

    Great post…exactly how I’m feeling about the situation.

    p.s. I miss everyone from the forums. I didn’t post very much, but I loved the community that had come together. Too bad Skipper pooped all over us.

  • Michael

    thanks for writing that..so well put… i’ve only just found out what ‘fams’ means..so this is how Prince treats his family?? as much as he’s such a fantastic musician,singer and perfomer he lives on another planet and he just doesn’t know how to treat those around him.. and now he’s completely undoing all the good he’s done over the last few months..it’s such a shame..

    the track; absolutely fantastic, i can’t stop listening to it…but the lyrical intentions absolutely suck…so all the fams are picking on/using him…
    oh let’s all feel sorry for Prince…grow you silly man…

    what would happen if all these people you’re trying to censor, control and manipulate stop buying your records and concert tickets…

    everytime you start doing really well you then do something to totally alienate everyone, particulary those who love and support you and your work..we’ve been here before haven’t we???

    but this time you’ve gone way too far..

    this sounds just like a scene out of Purple Rain doesn’t it

  • Dan

    Pete – great post. You summed up everyone’s thoughts perfectly. 100% on the money.

    A thought just occurred to me about Prince’s motivations. Maybe others have brought it up. But just to make a half-hearted attempt at seeing things from Prince’s perspective: maybe he learned a lesson from his constant output of the ’90s and wants to be in greater control of distribution and timing. When he releases on his own schedule without fans being satisfied or mollified by finding a new boot, an old remix, etc, it creates greater anticipation, greater fervor, and allows HIM to be in full control of the release and impact.

    Of course, this is simple-minded and counter-productive for him, but still… maybe it’s a small part of his motivation. So he drops PFUnk, and the energy swirls all around what he’s doing when, rather than just celebrating his music in general.

    Then again, it could also be just that he’s a giant prick. Love him to death, and admire 90% of the trailblazing moves he’s made, especially in the Internet, but the other 10% are just maddeningly retarded.

  • Fusion 45

    This is the first I’ve heard of this. I appreciate your response to Prince. I couldn’t give a rats a** about him, to be honest. I don’t share your passion for him; I’ve liked his music to degrees but his arrogance has always turned me off. Good to see that time hasn’t changed that. I’m more a Van Morrison fan, myself, and while his shortsightedness disturbs me, it doesn’t surprise me. No amount of age or maturity seems to be enough to mellow him out. The truth is that individual song posts (as I and many others do on our sites) cost artists some pennies. I’ve certainly downloaded my share of stuff from music blogs. But, I’ve bought a whole lot more, as most of us have. Sarah Tavares and Yael Naim, to name two, lost a few pennies on the one free download I got from a blog but made much more on the downloads I bought elsewhere. And the fact is WITHOUT THOSE BLOGS I’D NEVER HAVE HEARD OF THEM. I guess it comes down to it, the Kings In The Castle (or The Princes, as it may be) want more and more and more. I guess Prince ain’t so forward thinking as he appears. ‘Nuff said.

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