Monday, June 02, 2008

Burning Question: Radiohead vs. Prince

So here is a little story about Prince that you may have heard already, but if you haven't, well, it is interesting to say the least.

Prince performed at Coachella in April, and as part of his set, he did a cover of Radiohead's Creep, a performance that some would call questionable.

Then people who attended the concert started putting those videos up on Youtube. Well, Prince didn't like that and he had his legal team sweep down and force the site to remove them, a move which has been part of his overall media strategy as of late.

Of course, Radiohead had wanted to see their song performed by the iconic Minneapolis-based artist, and have claimed that they, rather than Prince, should have the right to determine if a clip is to be removed or not.

Now, I've had a bit of fun taking some shots at the Paisley Park's Dancing Purple Fan Eater, but I can honestly say that in this case, I can sort of see all three sides.

Prince, as the performer should have some control over how his image is presented, and he had an agreement that the first three songs in his set would not be photographed or filmed. I don't know if Creep was one of those songs however.

Radiohead, as the original artists and the songwriters also seem to have their own rights in this matter. Do their rights outweigh those of Prince in this matter? That I do not know. But it is an interesting question in this day and age.

And then there are the fans who recorded the footage in the first place who are caught in the middle of this. Just because they were communal witnesses to an event, does that give them the right to be the arbiters of what is and is not acceptable in this situation? And did buying a ticket come with other stipulations that these concert goers were bound by in terms of recording and disseminating onstage material?

So my question is this: Who do you think is most in the right about this situation?

6 comments:

Micgar said...

I think as a Radiohead fan, I would like to see the clip. That said, I guess I can see how Prince would want to have it taken down.
I have always been uncomfortable with people taking clips down from YT. I mean, come on, its streaming video, not DLable. If it was some guy recording a crappy copy on some camcorder, that would make the taking down of the clip even more silly. I could see if it was Prince's people taping the show for a disk or his own video, but it didn't seem to be the case here.

Arjan said...

I would like to see/hear Prince's version. In most concerts it's just plain forbidden to tape record anything but most of the time there's no punishment.

You cán download video's from YT (try www.zamzar.com). The only thing is that the clips shot at concerts aren't from a quality that artists should bother to take down.
It only enhances the fandom if the vids stay online. So it would be a positive thing if the vid of Prince's version of Creep would have stayed online.

Megan said...

Personally, I don't enjoy watching "homemade" concert videos because, well, what's the point? I'd rather have been there, and there's no way I'm going to get anywhere near the experience by watching it on YT or wherever.

The technology is getting so much better though, I might have to rethink that position pretty soon.

Anyway, wherever the line is drawn, somebody is going to be trying to step over it...

MC said...

Micgar: I think they were cellphone vids. And if you've seen an Evening with Kevin Smith, there is a story about Prince having a vault full of film and music that he has no plans on releasing... just because he felt like making it.

Arjan: Prince seems to be very weird about his copyright and likeness as of late.

Megan: You can't have a line if no one tests it.

Jeremy Barker said...

Though I don't agree with him, I think Prince wins here as YouTube will pull anything with a whiff of copyright infringement if someone complains.

It is interesting to see two artists on polar opposite ends of the rights argument colliding here. Prince is such a master of getting free publicity that I'm amazed he turns any of it down.

MC said...

Of course, the fact that we are talking about him playing Coachella and doing a cover version of another artists work, that we all sort of want to see now... well, that couldn't all be calculated, could it?