Since the untimely passing of Prince, there has been a renewed interest in his rich cultural legacy. Many musicians and collaborators will speak to his astonishing musical contributions to the world, but there is another part of the Prince story that may not be as well known.
Prince was a fierce advocate for artists’ rights. He saw injustices against musicians being carried out by corporations that treated their art as meaningless commodities to be bought and sold, and he spoke out against it whenever he could. With the spread of the internet in the mid-90s, Prince saw a path forward that could completely circumvent the established distribution channels that had been monopolized by these corporate structures for decades. It was during this time that he had begun experimenting with selling music online, first as independently manufactured CDs, then later in pure digital form. With the launch of the NPG Music Club in 2001, Prince firmly established that an artist-owned online distribution business can be successful and build that connection between an artist and his audience without a middleman. This is what freedom sounds like.
We launch with over a dozen of Prince’s most popular sites, but over 20 years online, Prince launched nearly 20 different websites, maintained a dozen different social media presences, participated in countless online chats, and directly connected with fans around the world. This Museum is an archive of that work and a reminder of everything he accomplished as an independent artist with the support of his vibrant and dedicated online community.
The Prince Online Museum was built by the people who worked directly with Prince on these projects. We are the originators; we are the experts. It is a labor of love; no money has been exchanged. There will be no downloads sold and no membership fees required. But we do have working versions of almost all of Prince’s official websites. Take a virtual walk through the timeline and remember when anything was possible.
Director, Prince Online Museum
Pictured Above: Prince accepts his Lifetime Achievement Webby Award on June 12, 2006