Although a latecomer to the party, Prince has really gotten into social media of late, with @3rdeyegirl. Tantalising fans with all manner of exciting prospects of new songs, live streams from Paisley Park at a very (in)convenient 2am week day mornings, to concerts announced at the last minute, all to keep his devoted followers on their twinkle toes. Prince is showing new love to his old companion: the Internet. Such is the life of a Prince fan – the necessity of an empty dairy, and a stash of cash. Not that I’m complaining, you know.
With the launch of not just one but three websites, in 2013 – a fact that is ever more surprising considering in 2010 Prince’s vow never to return to the Internet again because it as a medium was “over” and that digital music brought the death of music. Fans have over the years grown highly accustomed to be cautiously unsurprised with surprise. And so here he is back online with, first prince2013.com, then 3rdeyegirl.com and lastly a whole download store 3rdeyetunes.com. Joined with, let us dare say, a highly successful Twitter campaign following an absolute stroke of genius in that Prince of all people Tweets his own Tweets (at least from what we know, some of them). The epoch of this was noted by every major worldwide news outlet. Prince tweeting was so remarkable he still manages even when we think he’s exhausted every avenue of self-promotion possible, he pulls yet another coup from out of the bag. We know that other artists have millions of Twitter followers and that Prince has only the region of 150,000, yet guess which artist the press go to town about when he joins Twitter. Can Prince realise his potential on social media?
What’s it all for we wonder. A DVD? More likely pay per downloads videos. But what about the new music, that is of course the hope of every Prince fan, but yes where is the new project? We have been given Screwdriver, lovely. Breakfast Can Wait, nice; and Groovy Potential, very, very groovy; plus Fixurlifeup, which went straight to iTunes. But are these all singles from a new album, or will some never see the light of day again. We were told in the spring that the new album was forthcoming and even had a name, Plectrum Electrum. Songs from it (2 Young 2 Dare etc.) was gleefully performed during the summer’s Live Out Loud Tour. We are left with the prospect of a new album, but then as long term Prince fans know and youngling ‘fams’ have quickly come to know, part of our purple instinct holds one’s excitement back.
Half of history is a list of missed opportunities, a failure 2 strike when the iron is hot.
We have seen it before. The prospect of an album – a name also given – which develops even a personality like a new ‘old’ friend you would learn to know so well and ever so hopefully come to love. Before that we might soon learn it is no longer spoken of anymore and forgotten. But the fans hadn’t forgotten. So we wonder in anticipation and fear, with all the tantalising prospect of Plectrum Electrum and the wonderful traction Prince has garnered from his first foray into social media, and as it turned out, quite with considerable exposure from; might he still cruelly deny its release. I lament here a little, because he would benefit most greatly from the discipline and support of a major record label again. And true, we like the flurries and out of the blue gifts, and we all appreciate his ramshackle approach is a great part of his charm. But the fan chatter craves a proper and cohesive project, whose releases are in themselves great events in the musical calendar, for it has been an eternity since 20Ten. So whilst we remain in the hope Prince does come to release Plectrum Electrum those looming clouds on the horizon will not see it passed over for another project. Those clouds do portent to us a warning: wasted opportunity. Deliver the goods Prince, for if ye don’t, you might never prove music’s prince of pop should ever be crowned a king.