Ha, ha, Prince said he doesn't like the Internet. Whadda maroon. Whaddan ignoranimus.
"(What's next, is he going to rail against telephones and automobiles? Or tell us to stop using cell phones?)"
That's a quote from, who else, Bob Lefsetz. Going for the thuddingly obvious non-insight as always. "You can't stop progress. Change happens. And it's not good for everyone. Sure, it's hard being an artist and getting paid in the Internet era, but that doesn't mean you should become a Luddite and sign off. It's not necessary to utilize Foursquare, but when you rail against Twitter and other new media you just look like a square. So, keep up to date with technology, or shut up!"
But did Prince rail against Twitter and other new media? No. What he actually said (or what the reporter remembers him saying—the story specified that no recording devices, or even handwritten notes, were permitted) was, "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. The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."
There are several components to that statement; some I agree with, some I don't.
"The internet's completely over" = clearly not true. Hard to understand in what sense he even meant it.
"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" = He's got a fair point here. Should he be expecting to get paid up front, like an old-fashioned label deal? No, probably not. But maybe he's the kind of artist who could make a deal like that with iTunes, or the Amazon MP3 store. After all, this is a guy who repeatedly fought with his label because they wouldn't let him release music at the rate he produced it. Clearly, if he could sort out a payment scheme that satisfied him, he'd probably be firing songs at the public like a musical version of the Deep Horizon well.
"The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated" = he's right about MTV, but the comparison between the two isn't a valid one, obviously, because the Internet isn't a single thing, it's a conduit. Rhetorically and possibly mentally, he's confusing individual websites with the web that hosts them.
"Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you" = here's the nub. See, Prince is not just a cranky, semi-reclusive artist. He's also a religious fanatic, and I believe part of his aversion to information technology is in some way Bible-based. And there's no arguing with fanatics. So don't bother.
While you're laughing at Prince for turning his back on the Internet, though, remember AC/DC. You can't get their music on iTunes, eMusic, or at the Amazon MP3 store. But they've been selling out stadiums and arenas across the planet for two straight years in support of their first album in eight years, and the soundtrack to one of the biggest movies of 2010 was composed exclusively of their songs. So is there a way to have, or at least sustain, a career without the Internet? You bet there is.