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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The internet and the music business

Why should Prince or any musician like the Internet? Purple rain does not fall anymore. You want to pick up the track then you pay a buck on I tunes and throw it in with your thousands of other songs. Worse you don't pay the buck and get it anyway. Now Purple Rain is yours for nothing and you throw it out there on a little peer to peer sharing and everybody else has it via Limewire since the old Napster was mothballed...Rip nascent sharer of tunes.

Music business is DOA. Except of course for the recycled oldies. Cant get enough of those venues with Aerosmith, the Boss, hundred plus on the tickets and they just keep touring. Why not? Royalties are way down so you still can't share a concert...Although some try with those million PDA's. So that leaves Prince saying the Internet will not last. Wilco trembles and garage bands mean I can't dump out my latest tune on a stream?

Of course you can. He was just kidding. Prince doesn't like all the bits and bytes because we all don't go buy that big color album of him and Apollonian riding the big hog. Prince wants the old days back. Don't we all? Let's bring back eight tracks and LPS while we are at it. There is something disconnected about zipping in songs to our Ipods. They don't even sound the same...a little tinny, too digital, no heart. Where is that old feel of at least a CD we put in the car and hear our favorite artist like Prince the Artist. Gone with the Wind unfortunately.

So rest easy lads. Purple Rain shall fall again. But it will not fall from the rock Gods on high who laughed all the way to the bank during the seventies and eighties. It will fall from Junior downloading thousands of songs on Limewire and then going to bed while dumping them out for everyone to hear. Purple Rain will stain only the unwilling...For the rest of us it is free juice. Sorry Prince.

William Hazelgrove is the Hemingway writer in residence for the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. He has written four novels, reviews and features for USA TODAY and been the subject of stories in the NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and NPR'S All Things Considered. His forthcoming novel is Rocket Man. More information can be gathered at

Books by William Hazelgrove