The Internets: completely over or just temporarily?
It occurred to me, when I read the other day that Prince has declared the Internets “completely over,” that Prince has now been a cautionary tale for much longer than he was ever a genius/worthwhile artist.
It’s one of those weird bits of trivia like the fact that the Foo Fighters have been now been around for something like 3x as long as Nirvana was ever around, and the fact that Biggie Smalls career hardly lasted three years before Suge Knight had him assassinated.
If Prince lives to be 100 years old, who knows what crazy shit he might say. Just in the past few years, in addition to declaring the Internets over, there was that shit he said about how fruits shouldn’t be allowed to get married, which seems cruel at the very least, if not suspect. Pretty much the only time you hear from Prince these days is when he’s saying something you wish he hadn’t said. Fortunately, for the sake of his legacy, he belongs to one of these religions where they don’t believe in going to the hospital. I heard his body is all fucked the fuck up (nullus), but he refuses to have it fixed. He might not last forever.
He might have a point though. If you’re an artist, why should you give a rat’s ass about the Internets? People are just gonna use it to steal your shit. Why make it any easier for them by putting your shit on the Internets in the first place?
Of course Prince is fortunate in that he established his career as an artists long before there was a such thing as the Internets, and the attendant implosion of the music business. He had like three albums out before I was even born. He had movies with gratuitous nude footage of ridonkulously well-crafted ethnically ambiguous women before I was capable of fapping to them. He could distribute his next album exclusively via the homeless man who harasses people in the parking lot of the Taco Bell on Skinker just north of Delmar, and it wouldn’t stop people from shelling out top dollar to come see him live, even if he insists on playing his new shit. I’d go, just to see if he tosses copies of the Watchtower out from the stage, Stryper-style. That’s where all of the money is anyway.
I don’t have it handy, and I’m not gonna find it for you, because sometimes being black affects the level of effort I’m willing to put forth, but there’s a chart some young guy put together that breaks down how much money you can make by selling your music online. Basically, you can’t make shit from selling your music online. Eminem, who sold more albums this past decade than Elvis and the Beatles combined (though not quite as man as Buhweet), may have sold a few hundred thousand copies of “Not Afraid” and that garbage he did with Pink, but that shit only cost $.99. And that’s before Apple and the TIs take their parts. He probably didn’t make very much money, and he makes more money than anyone.
If I were an up and coming artist, I’d have to seriously consider taking Prince’s advice not releasing my shit on the Internets – not because I’m upset with the Internets, because people use them to steal from artists, but because there’s the distinct possibility that I wouldn’t make any money anyway, and that way I can pretend as if I’ve purposely decided to limit my career, on principle. Which would you’d rather be, the guy who let the TIs talk him into making a song with Lady Gaga and didn’t make any money, or the guy who told the TIs they could suck Lady Gaga’s dick and didn’t make any money. The only way I’d upload my shit to iTunes, Spotify et al, is if I became popular enough to make a significant amount of money from selling my music digitally, in which case I would of course give in and stop pretending as if there’s anything wrong with the Internets.