As a fan of Prince, and in particular the eclectic run of funk/rock/r&b/dance with Warner Bros. records from 1978 through the early 1990s, I could write at length regarding the genius of his writings, recordings, and performances, the depth of his reach and appeal, and the reflection of his influences that pour from this catalog. While tempting, much of what I could say has likely been said in the many tributes that have emerged in the wake of the artist's death. Instead, over the next several days, I will examine the influence the man had on the music industry - legal and cultural. Without question, Prince the artist became well-versed in the legal constructs of the music industry, growing to appreciate the legal and commercial heft of intellectual property ownership wields, whether it was to his personal detriment or benefit. Although Prince Rogers Nelson briefly adopted an unpronounceable symbol as a means to fight Warner Bros. and its stranglehold on the performing artist known as "Prince", the musician and performer transcended categorization and the businessman merely used a symbol to achieve greater freedom than he previously enjoyed with his early catalog.
Accordingly, I will be reviewing the various aspects of Prince's career that touch-on intellectual property ownership and issues of ownership and control of exploitation, as well as how technology was both embraced and shunned.
As a true "child" of the 1980s - 7 to 18 years old bookend-to-bookend - it is undeniable that Prince (along with an impressive roster of other superstars) were the soundtrack to my young life. Like the generation of my parents, this generation is starting to experience the deaths of their pop culture icons - a reminder that we grow older by the day and that life is (to pilfer Elton John) like a candle in the wind and that all the fame, wealth, and adoration of millions cannot stop the march of time.