I always thought that Prince was a bit overrated. I never like his music and, of course, he’s famously a curmudgeon. Which is just another way of saying that he’s an asshole.
So it should be no surprise when Prince told George Lopez doesn’t want anyone covering his songs.* And that it should be illegal to do so.
Remarking on the compulsory licensing of copyright that allows artists working for the same record labels to rework other artists’ hits, Prince remarked, “That doesn’t exist in any other art form, be it books, movies. There’s only one version of Law And Order. There’s several versions of ‘Kiss’ and ‘Purple Rain’.”
Of course, there are a few things about this to disagree with: 1) Compulsory licensing does exist in other media, such as in cable television. 2) There are dozens of versions of Law And Order, and likely there will be at least one or two more by the time you finish reading this sentence. 3) Prince covers other people’s songs all the time, whether it be his version of Radiohead’s “Creep” that briefly pissed off Thom Yorke, or that Super Bowl performance of Foo Fighters’ “Best Of You”—which came only after he’d blasted Foo Fighters for covering his own “Darling Nikki” and told them to “write their own tunes.”
Jerk? Check. Misunderstanding of what he’s talking about? Check. Hypocrisy? Check.
* The biggest surprise is that George Lopez’s show is still on the air, I guess. I have never heard of anyone who has watched more than one episode. But they must exist out there. He gets an 0.3 rating, but I’ve read that his show skews extremely young, which advertisers love.