The Prince’s Rage

July 11, 2010

When I go online, I always look forward to the local and international news Yahoo has in-stored for its users. The mighty Internet is one of my sources for the latest news updates – politics, entertainment, sports (Let’s go, Spain! Yay, FIFA World Cup!), and all sorts of topics. The news stories were always informative, intriguing, and interesting.

Tonight, it was different. The headline states, “This Is What It Sounds Like When The Internet Cries.” Oh yeah, how ironic that an online news source, powered by the Internet, was talking about the fall of the mighty Internet. It doesn’t stop there. It was surprising to read that the news blog was talking about Prince. Yes, Prince! The musical icon who became famous for his avant garde songs and purple outfits. And yes, it was Prince who was attacking the powers of the World Wide Web.

The one and only, Prince (taken from idolateor.com)

Let me quote Prince:

The Internet is kaput… The Internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else [digitally]. They won’t pay me an advance for it, and then they get angry when they can’t get it… All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

 

How ironic can that be? Prince was once the Internet’s biggest supporter. He wanted to mass produce his albums to make available to his millions of fans. As he battled with his record label, Warner Bros., he decided to make a move. And in what other way can Prince’s albums reach his fans? By pass the powers of Warner Bros., and use the power of the Internet.

In 2006 he started New Power Generation Music Club and in 2009 LotusFlow3r.com, both are subscription websites for Prince’s albums and other unpublicized materials which are unavailable elsewhere. Unfortunately, he ordered both websites to be shut down. Why? Subscribers failed to receive the promised unpublicized materials.

What does the rest of the music industry have to say? Some supported Prince’s statement, others did not. Here enters the issue of a completely open Internet.

“After all, it’s understandable in this post-Napster age that artists might no longer be in favor of a completely open Internet, since many industry pundits argue that it is illegal file-sharing and even legal free downloads and streams that are responsible for their music biz’s current slump. Still, it seems a little silly to expect people to abandon their “digital gadgets” and the online distribution methods (iTunes, Rhapsody) via which the majority of avid music fans play and receive their music nowadays.”

 

Just yesterday, my classmates and I were talking about “open sourcing.” We were asked to examine a case study about a company who is in the dilemma of whether to open source or not. To come up with a decision, we listed the advantages and disadvantages of open sourcing in the context of a product whose codes are available on an open source.

Open Sourcing (taken from entregeeks.files.wordpress.com)

*The following are the Disadvantages of Open Sourcing:

1. Difficult brand management

Without any given knowledge on who the users are, an organization will have a hard time in customizing their product to cater to the interests of varying groups.

2. No control in the life span of a product (product cycles)

Organizations do not have any power in dictating the “death” of their products.

3. No spacing out of product improvements

With a vast sea of users, suggestions for improvements on a product could be given out so fast: per day, per hour, per minute, or per second.

4. Rise of intellectual property issues (e.g., patent infringement)

Users may build upon the information posted by an organization to create an improved version of their product.

*The following are the Advantages of Open Sourcing:

1. Accelerated product improvements

Suggestions coming from the users may be used by the organization to innovate their product.

2. Improved customer satisfaction

Customers will be able to give their opinions on how a product can be further customized to their needs.

3. Decreased costs of production

An organization may need not to hire product specialists who will think of product improvements and innovations.

In the end of our discussion, we all agreed for a “controlled openness.” Ideally, organizations should be transparent to their stakeholders in the processes. But that is not the case. There is a so-called “controlled transparency” where organizations only give out information if required by the law (institutional), if needed by people (overt), or for promotions purposes (covert).

Let me explain this through the context of a relationship. Ideally, a man should be open to his partner about his whereabouts, his past experiences, and the like. But it doesn’t really go that way. A man may have kept some things to himself like his embarrassing moments and his morning rituals.

Bottomline is, there are some things that are for the organization’s eyes and ears only. Controlled openness calls out the organizations to know who their target market is and how big of that market do they want to target.

Let us go back to Prince. Given the technological advances that we are all enjoying now, it is impossible to give up all the gadgets and applications, especially the online distribution methods artists are using now (e.g., iTunes). How will Prince promote his latest album? He plans to sell his CDs with a free newspaper. Back to basics? We don’t know.

CDs + a free newspaper: WEIRD

____________________

 Read the news blog “This is What It Sounds Like When The Internet Cries.” Click  here.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wallernotweller
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 14:12:50

    Reply

  2. Nitric Oxide
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 19:54:39

    I’m not the type to take the time leaving comments on peoples’ weblogs generally however right after stumbling across yours I thought I might shoot a little line to give me a break from work. I’ve certainly put in a little bit of time here browsing and procrastinating! Good stuff here and I’ll be back again in the future to check out more. Take care!

    Reply

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