Prince was notoriously, even famously, protective of his music. He was a fierce enemy of pirating and a public supporter of Tidal, speculatively for the artist-friendly control and revenue sharing model that the platform boasts. It was difficult to find Prince’s music anywhere online that he didn’t want it to be. I can’t think of another artist whose music was not immediately accessible in 2017 (Beyonce, maybe).
Charles Nelson Rodger’s catalog is, as of 3:30 p.m., Monday, February 13, year of our Lord 2017, available on Spotify. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t listen to Purple Rain today, but I do wonder what he would think about how I am listening. I wonder if he would want me to listen in this way.
Ultimately, what to do with these feelings – feelings built on wild-ass speculation – varies depending on how much one cares about the relationship between artist, art and consumer. I will probably grow less and less concerned with the machinations behind me being able to stream “Breakdown” while I do my dishes. I should probably buy a record, though.