Prince’s Vast & Innovative Websites Are Now an Online Museum
Prince was an artist ahead of his time in more ways than one. As a musician, he pushed the boundaries of creativity in ways few others have done. As an advocate for artistry, he fought harder for the rights of artists to maintain control of their creations, before and into the digital age. And now, there is a Prince-centered memorial that proves his foresight about how the web works was equally prophetic.
As reported by Billboard, July 4 marked the launch of the Prince Online Museum, an archive of websites the late icon used over the course of two decades. Sam Jennings, the museum’s director, is quoted as having said “Prince launched nearly 20 different websites, maintained a dozen different social media presences, participated in countless online chats and directly connected with fans around the world,” and now much of that digital footprint is available for viewing online.
According to Billboard, “[t]he Prince Online Museum aims to pay tribute to the late singer’s influential use of digital experiences to connect the artist to his fans, as well as inspire other artists to find creative ways to reach their audience,” and that Prince “considered new websites to be an essential part of the creative process of many of his album releases.” Websites included date back to 1994’s Prince Interactive and most recently 2013’s 3rdEyeGirl.com.
Heads may recall that Prince’s proficiency at online marketing led to Prince’s NPG Music Club, a subscription-based service which provided fans with exclusive content. Launched in 2001 – more than a decade before Apple Music or TIDAL – NPG Music Club earned Prince a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Webbys, as voted on by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Credited for making “visionary” use of the internet, Prince was also honored at the Webby Awards for being the first major artist to release an album over the internet.