I knew it would happen someday. That the Internet would go the way of pet rocks, leg warmers, and *NSYNC. Or MTV. I mean, it’s totally just a fad, and pretty soon the fickle masses will be onto the next thing.
At least, that’s what Prince thinks. As he told the Mirror a few days ago:
“The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it. The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
I think we may have a case here of Prince (he is Prince again, right?) being a little confused about what the Internet actually is. When he throws out the example of MTV, that’s like pointing out that Friendster was a fad. The dancing hampster was a fad. And (I hate to break it to some of you guys) Facebook and Twitter may someday go the way of AOL chatrooms and Hot or Not. But saying the Internet is a fad is like saying that television is a fad.
But what do we know? All these computers are filling our head with numbers. And, you know, facts. (I hear math is a fad, too.)
Don’t get me wrong: I like Prince’s music. And I do to some degree respect his efforts to fight piracy – but he is going about it in completely the wrong way. He apparently think he’s going to trick “the Internet” by only giving out his CDs in copies of newspapers rather than offering it for download. Which means, of course, that a large number of people who would have purchased it off of iTunes are going to illegally download it instead – because obviously the second that CD hits someone’s hands, it will be ripped and sitting online somewhere. Though Prince’s pendulum swung way too far years ago when he threw a DMCA grenade at YouTube and it hit a cute ‘lil dancing baby. (Though, yes, dancing babies are a fad.)
So the good news is: the Internet probably isn’t going anywhere. (I know, you were worried there for a second, right?) The other good news is that fads do exist and they probably will be gone. Like Justin Bieber. And Twilight. But someday when you regale your children with tales of acid-wash jeans and Hannah Montana, the Internet will probably still be around for you to pull up the evidence.