They tried it.
The Daily Beast released an article comparing Taylor Swift to the likes of Prince.
The article’s headline, “Taylor Swift is the new Prince,” was written back in June, but the media site tweeted the story out again today.
Back in June, Swift penned an open letter to Apple Music withholding her music from the service for not paying artist for streams during the company’s free three-month trial period.
“This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success,” she wrote. “This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field… but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.”
Apple soon rebounded on this, eventually opening the doors for many artists, including Swift, to jump on the streaming bandwagon.
Well, in true let’s bring up the past fashion, the Daily Beast recalled when the musical genius that is Prince took on the empire that is Warner Brothers.
In 1993, the legend that is Prince was up for a renegotiation of his contract with Warner Brothers. He found himself in a huge pile of debt, thanks to the cost of maintaining his studio complex, Paisley Park. Warner Brothers had hoped to offer Prince a lucrative payout in return of control of the masters of Prince’s early work as well as control over future material.
The deal quickly erupted into chaos as Prince was left basically empty-handed, without creative control of his work and progress on future endeavors. In true supreme fashion, he was having none of that and embarked on a battle of epic proportions. Bloop!
Prince retaliated by refusing to put out any new material; instead, he released old, unpublished, saved songs as albums. He iconically wrote SLAVE on his cheek for public appearances and also famously refused to use his name on his work; during said time he was only identified by a typographic “Love Symbol.” Warner Brothers retaliated by releasing unauthorized Greatest Hits albums and materials from Prince’s masters.
Things continued to get messy by the time their contract ended, but once it was finished, Prince released his music using alternative methods like his personal online subscription service, NPGOnlineLtd.com. Prince eventually got tired of the Internet, reportedly declaring, “The Internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”
Then in 2014, and almost 15 years later, Prince signed back with Warner Brothers, retaining the rights to his music.
The Daily Beast sought to compare the two incidents, saying “Where Prince was fighting for his right as an artist to own the music he created and to control the way that his music was delivered to fans, what Swift and other artists like her are facing is the question of whether artists have a right to be paid at all.”
But let’s be real: how can we really compare Swift’s mediocre antics to the true performance that Prince gave in his rebellion?
Yes, Swift used her fame to address the problem of paying artists, but that’s really about it. She pulled her music to little to no opposition. She had it easy, plain and simple.
What Prince did was revolutionary, true activism for being wronged by his label.
What do you think: is Taylor Swift the new Prince, or is that a bit of a reach?