Music legend Prince's hostility towards the internet and consumer technology as a whole has been well documented. "The internet's completely over," he once told the UK's Daily Mirror. "All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you." In addition to withholding his latest releases from iTunes, he's mounted an obsessive campaign to keep his music off YouTube. With the number of takedown requests hitting video sites daily, such behavior isn't unique to Prince. But it's a disappointing stance from a man often cited as one of rock's greatest visionaries.
"The internet's completely over."
Prince's reluctance to embrace the digital age has now drawn the scrutiny of Questlove — drummer for The Roots — who used an all-too-appropriate medium to share his grief. The text accompanying an Instagram photo of Questlove's DJ software (which displays Prince as the current artist) slams the 80's icon for his aggressive YouTube policing. "This is clearly how an unaware generation can discover his genius," says Questlove. "He will pay dearly for that when people shrug like "When Doves what?"
"This is clearly how an unaware generation can discover his genius."
Questlove is also unhappy about the lack of remasters covering Prince's early work. "This ish is getting hard tryna match it to today's sound systems." That subject isn't quite as clear-cut as Prince's sorely misguided internet beliefs, however. Some would argue that releases like Purple Rain and 1999 (both of which are available digitally) should be preserved in their truest form, audio imperfections and all. But Questlove's main message is certainly on point: musicians who ignore the internet risk irrelevance with future generations. Unfortunately we doubt Prince has ever used Instagram, so he's unlikely to get the memo anytime soon.