With the passing of Prince today, it”s likely that fans will try to turn to YouTube to check out their favorite videos of the Purple One to honor his memory. But this isn”t as easy as going to the video aggregator, typing in “Prince” and hitting the “Play” button. Not by a long shot.
Prince feuded with YouTube and comparable sites dating back to 2007 when he hired the company Web Sheriff to remove his videos for a variety of reasons, including protecting his likeness and good old money. In the days that followed, more than 2,000 Prince videos were dumped from the site, this according to The Independent.
At the time, the musician”s reps stated, ”Prince feels very strongly about how his art is perceived and he doesn't want it remembered as grainy mobile phone footage from the back of the stadium. Prince's actions are a brave and pioneering step to challenge the status quo and hand control over Internet rights back to the artists.”
In the years since, his attitude didn”t changed much. While Prince did ultimately set up a page on YouTube with many of his videos and performances, he took them down in 2015, Billboard reported at the time.
”Prince's publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible,” read a note on his Spotify page.
And with that, they all but disappeared again. But Prince wasn”t done expressing his discontent toward YouTube. In fact, as recently as last month the musician wrote in a since-deleted Tweet that he won”t put his content on the site because “YouTube doesn”t pay equitable licensing fees.”
Unfortunately for Prince, his efforts were not nearly as successful internationally. As those sites are not subject to U.S. law, they post a variety of his videos and concert footage. However many are far from high quality.
So instead of scouring YouTube for something that, chances are, won”t even be there, pop in your Purple Rain tape, close your eyes and just remember Prince as he was…the baddest of the badasses who wasn”t afraid to take on the establishment.