The Clown Prince

The artist formerly known as a singer is acting more like a record label exec.

Prince is suing people like it's 1999.

He is after the social network YouTube for unauthorized use of his music. He says he wants to "reclaim his art on the Internet".

Is this the same Prince who sat out and sulked when he got into a pissing match with his label all those years ago?

Isn't that when the silly concept of being the artist formerly known as Prince surfaced?

But now, the Internet and the next generation is getting to Prince.

He wonders how YouTube can filter porn and pedophile material but it has a hard time keeping fans from putting up his work -- unauthorized. So he's doing what every purple-blooded American record industry exec would do.


What is it with the record industry? The unlikeliest singer to act like a suit and take up the fight for record labels against piracy is Prince.

Why is it that younger musicians are embracing the viral spreading of music online while Prince is protesting?

For one thing, he's old.

His chronological age might be just 49 years old (on the Keith Richards Rock and Roll Scale) but his record industry age seems more like it is 76. And old, in this case, means out of touch with reality not just years.

Prince has the right to spit in the face of his fans. That's why we embrace freedom. But he shouldn't be surprised that the next generation will be unsympathetic to his desire to drain every last penny into his rather large bank account. He's throwing red meat on to the next generation's argument that young people sometimes offer when they rationalize stealing music.

The artists are rich.

The record labels are mean and meaningless.

And anyway, we (the youth) buy all those expensive concert tickets, useless CDs and t-shirts.

I'd be laughing right now if this situation wasn't so pathetic.

Since when is Prince Clive?

In fact, if Prince really wants to help the music industry he should cross back over from the dark side (label) and make more hit records.

In fact, Clive should find us a few more artists like Alicia Keys while I'm at it.

And the vast conspiracy of record label lawyers should be given a serious time out while record execs figure out what they're doing wrong.

They're going the wrong way!

The market is online stealing music and, to be fair, sampling it before buying and/or attending concerts.

The labels want them to turn their radios back on again, damn it, and listen to what they (the labels want them to hear). Then go to a record store and buy a CD (they don't want to buy).

See what I mean?

The market is saying make music cheaper, deliver it online or on the go through their mobile devices and remove digital rights management (DRM so they can share it like they would a CD).

The labels are saying, don't tell us how to price our music and you really need to buy albums again. Oh, and stop cherry picking the good tracks. You need the stiffs, too. Your parents bought albums full of bad tracks. Why can't you?

Their answer: We have the Internet and social networks like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.


Clive is telling his artists to shut up and sing.

Prince is telling his fans to shut up and buy.

There is no hope for a record industry that is so lost that it thinks fighting YouTube is a worthy use of its time. When a major artist like Prince wages war against "The Great Viral Way" you just know in your heart of hearts that the record labels just don't get it. They don't understand their customers.

When men get old (and the record industry is run by men) drug companies like Avodart like to advertise prostate medicines to them by saying, "do you have a going problem or a growing problem".

Well, the record industry sure doesn't have a growing problem.

And those that are so old that they still embrace stuffing a CD mentality into cyberspace are going to have a going problem.

They're going to be the ones going -- into a new line of work.

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