Prince Ruined this Post

So the original plan was that I would do a “worst (or maybe the best) of Prince” post. It was going to focus on “Bat Dance,” his ass-less MTV movie award stretch pants, whatever scenes I could find from Under the Cherry Moon and probably more oddball stuff Prince has done in front of cameras. I figured more would come together when I started combing through archive footage on Youtube.

It was a good plan. Unfortunately, Prince hates YouTube. He hates it to to such a hilarious degree that this five year old news story strongly implies he personally asked his record label to send a threatening legal letter to a woman who uploaded a video of a baby dancing along to “Let’s Go Crazy.” The case was struck down with the courts deciding the video was protected by fair use

So YouTube has a couple of live performances of Prince, from things like awards shows and concerts. But no videos. And he’s evidently even viewed a couple of live performances as problematic; he famously blocked footage of his Coachella cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” on Youtube despite the objection of Radiohead themselves.

So for everybody who objected to my assertion that Prince would be forgotten: how are we supposed to remember an iconic, visual performer if his visual performances are not available on the most common forum for visual performances in the world? Look: as a former print journalist I know firsthand how harmful and often stupid giving away stuff for free on the internet can be. But I would strongly argue that Prince would gain not only money but a minor league career renaissance if he let his stuff back on YouTube. Quick illustration: I thought that “Bat Dance” was a queasy joke until I actually watched it again. Now I think that if you took out the samples from the Tim Burton movie blockbuster it would be one of the most forward thinking dance songs of the late ’80s.

And I had to resort to watching it on Vimeo! If it were on Youtube, It would be embedded in blog posts and hundreds of ones just like it.

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