This afternoon the musical world was rocked by the sudden death of the legendary artist Prince, who passed at age 57. Prince was one of the most influential artists of his generation, both musically and because of how he handled his business in the music industry.
Over the last 30 years very few artists have had a bigger effect on the music industry than Prince, and even fewer are as widely respected. Prince taught the modern generation of artists the importance of owning their art and controlling their careers. In 1993, he engaged in a war with Warner Bros. Records after the label refused to release his music when he wanted, and at one point he wrote "slave" across his face and changed his name to a symbol.
"If you don't own your masters, your master owns you."
"People think I'm a crazy fool for writing 'slave' on my face," Prince told Rolling Stone in a 1996 interview. "But if I can't do what I want to do, what am I? When you stop a man from dreaming, he becomes a slave. That's where I was. I don't own Prince's music. If you don't own your masters, your master owns you."
In 2014, Prince signed a new deal with Warner Bros. that gave him full control of his catalog. He finally got what he always wanted — full control over his art. Prince knew what he was worth and never settled for anything less than fair value, and that ideology has helped make the current generation of musicians more aware than ever.
Reactions to Prince's passing are pouring in from across the music world, including messages from some of Prince's musical peers, fans, and friends:
Gutted. Mourning with you.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 21, 2016
PRINCE . You legend. Rest In Peace— lily (@lilyallen) April 21, 2016
"Devastated to hear the news about Prince. An enormous talent that we were all big fans of." - Duran Duran pic.twitter.com/478Q9dVF7K— Duran Duran (@duranduran) April 21, 2016
And just like that...the world lost a lot of magic ✨ Rest in peace Prince! Thanks for giving us so much...— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) April 21, 2016
Oh my god I can’t believe that Prince has died…he was a great great talent…RIP— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) April 21, 2016
PRINCE, sad to say, has passed on!!! He was a Giant. My deep condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) April 21, 2016
Today is the worst day ever. Prince R.I.P I am crying!— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) April 21, 2016
Im sooooo very sad right now... PRINCE can't die.— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) April 21, 2016
This fucking sucks... Prince on repeat all day. Just like I did with Michael and Whitney— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) April 21, 2016
Dang it... Truly hate hearing we lost Prince. Sad day..— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) April 21, 2016
Numb. Stunned. This can't be real.— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) April 21, 2016
It was Raspberry Beret. I was 4 years old. Yes, 4. I remember that I instantly loved it. "Mommy, who is that singing?" Seems weird but it's true. More than a "once in a lifetime" artist... Just a ONCE IN FOREVER ARTIST. I'm still in shock as I write this and I feel this overwhelming grief. But, we should all turn away from that and HONOR this musician that changed all of our lives, our perspectives, our feeling, our whole being. From another planet? Probably. Royalty, for sure. Us worthy..? Laughable. They say don't meet your idols... That they let you down. But, some of my greatest, funniest (yes, he was hilarious), and most prolific encounters and conversations about music came from the moments that I spent with him. It would be silly to say that he has inspired our music... It's beyond that. He's somewhere within every song I've ever written. I am sad, but I will smile when I think of every second that I had the fortune of being in his company. We have lost our greatest living musician. But his music will never die. Prince, NOTHING COMPARES... #RIPPrince
Rest in power, Prince.— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 21, 2016
Long Live The King.— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) April 21, 2016
i promise this was the greatest moment of my entire life. i wish i could relive it everyday. pic.twitter.com/i7oax7tLYr— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) April 21, 2016
I will miss a good friend who was so talented. He was such a great performer / guitar player. Sleep well Prince pic.twitter.com/4EZLFyGw9X— Ronnie Wood (@ronniewood) April 21, 2016
RIP to @prince…a true artist in every sense of the word. Gone way too soon.— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) April 21, 2016