Monday, May 2, 2016

Prince, Michael Jackson As Rivals? Record Label Battle A Legacy For Both

Prince, Michael Jackson As Rivals? Record Label Battle A Legacy For Both

Since Prince’s death on April 21, there have been several references to Prince being rivals with Michael Jackson. While some fans may find them incomparable, there is at least one thing they share as a legacy: a need to reprimand record labels and/or the music industry.
About Prince and Michael Jackson being rivals, the Mirror reports that some speculate it was over “whether lyrics in Prince’s [2004] song ‘Life ‘O’ The Party’ referred to Jackson.”
Nevertheless, one thing that seems to stand out about Prince and Michael Jackson is their united front against the music industry. In August 2015, Rolling Stone released an interview with Prince where he warned young artists that record contracts are “slavery” and praised artist-owned businesses like Jay Z and Lil Wayne’s Tidal.
Adding to this, the Daily Beast reports Prince was against many music industry elements like Spotify because they did not pay artists a fair share.
Of course, long-time fans may recall that this rejection of record labels and other music industry elements was nothing new from Prince.
As NME points out, they have an interview from 1994 where Prince talked about leaving major labels behind to go independent starting around 1993, and he wrote “slave” on his cheek for the front cover of the magazine.
Michael Jackson, Prince thought the music industry was problematic
Michael Jackson and Prince were skeptical of the music industry. [Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]
During the two decades that Prince was waging his war against major record labels like Warner Bros., Michael Jackson was calling out Sony Records.
Around 2002, Michael Jackson went public and called Sony Records racist in a public speech made in Harlem. Billboard quotes Michael Jackson from that speech against Sony, where he stated the following about major record labels at large.
“The recording companies really, really do conspire against the artists — they steal, they cheat, they do everything they can… [Especially] against the black artists.”
While Michael Jackson used the word racist and Prince did not directly say this (although the Guardian did quote Prince saying, “Black people aren’t allowed to make mistakes” in the entertainment industry), both indicated during their careers that record labels and the music industry were not giving artists a fair deal.
However, in the end, it was Prince that was the true long-term champion of the independent artist, because Michael Jackson eventually patched things up with Sony in the years before his untimely death in 2009.
Of course, some would argue that before Prince’s battle with record labels, Michael Jackson also had a creative difference with Motown records and started switching to another label between 1975 and 1978 when Jackson decided to go with Epic.
Regardless of his feelings toward major record labels, when Prince died, many of the biggest names in the industry came out to give their condolences and sing his praises.
Billboard writes that present and former major executives from Sony, Artista, Warner Brothers, Universal, EMI, and Big Daddy all had wonderful things to say about Prince despite the fact that he often spoke out against their companies with strong language.
Prince hated on record labels, but they loved him
Prince may have criticized record labels, but many paid him compliments after he died. [Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
In the end, fans can hope that history does not draw any comparisons between Michael Jackson and Prince where posthumous estate issues are concerned.
Prince’s Paisley Park estate, like Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, was extravagant, unique, and eccentric. It was described by the Daily Mail as follows.
“Visitors to [Prince’s] vast Minneapolis mansion and estate – festooned with murals of Prince himself – would find a music-making complex that include two full-size performance venues and a ‘Galaxy Room’ intended for meditation, which was illuminated entirely by ultraviolet light and had paintings of planets on the walls.”
Sadly, Michael Jackson’s remaining estate is now being sued for a billion dollars in back taxes, according to Yahoo News. Part of the problem for Michael Jackson’s estate is the “commercial rebirth” money Jackson generated based on the fact that he died.
Since Prince also owns the royalties for most of his music and he is popular like Michael Jackson, it is assumed by the Wall Street Journal that his estate will likely be profitable after his death.
This means Prince’s estate could be in a similar “commercial rebirth” situation as Michael Jackson’s but hopefully with fewer billion-dollar tax nightmares.
[Photo by Cindy Ord/Stringer/Getty Images]

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