It sure was generous of Prince to put out two albums in one day, but the Minneapolis groove guru sure was chintzy with his dabblings in 21st century internet promotion yesterday.
Last night, Prince hosted a webcast on Yahoo’s Live Nation channel at his Paisley Park studio complex in Chanhassen to promote his pair of new records, “Art Official Age” and “Plectrum Electrum.” The live stream lasted two hours – with lots of time-filler glimpses of various, non-private corners of Prince’s headquarters (yep, same '80s movie-theater-lobby décor as always) -- but in the end, the host only performed three songs.
To be fair, it was never officially advertised that he would perform. Fans got their hopes up when the @3RDEYEGIRL account on Twitter sent out a simple note an hour before start time: “Come,” a signal that Paisley would be open to the public (camera shots of the crowd made the place still look more than half-empty).
Prince’s other big online to-do around the albums’ release was a Q&A with fans via his new Facebook page. More than 24 hours after the 4,000-plus questions started pouring in, however, he has only answered one of them -- and it wasn’t really an answer, either, just a link to an article about 432Hz sound frequencies.
At least the three songs he played with his band 3rdEyeGirl at the Yahoo party were interesting ones. First and foremost, they brought out red-hot Los Angeles hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar to rap several fierce verses in the “Crystal Ball” deep cut “What’s My Name.” Many viewers of the stream were probably asking what Lamar’s name is, though, as Prince did not introduce him and the gabby Yahoo host (vlogger Shameless Maya) never seemed to recognize him. Here’s hoping the dude had other business in Minneapolis this week, or he came a long way for a whole lotta nada.
Yahoo did give good introductory screen time to new Prince protégé Liv Warfield, who helped him deliver the Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thankful n’ Thoughtful” to end the webcast. The performance started with a deep-grind version of the “Plectrum Electrum” track “PretzelBodyLogic,” the only song off the new albums to be performed. You can hear all three tunes near the end of the archived webcast.
Here's some of the reaction to the Yahoo party on Twitter under the #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY hash tag:
Yahoo act like they got a curfew. #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY— myra myra ☯ (@dualmyra) October 1, 2014
Really, Prince? You give us an hour and a half of insignificant sidepieces & nobodies & only allowed us like 30 min? #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY— 1976_Mellie G. (@EbonyStarr5) October 1, 2014
Maybe Reddit is more Prince’s style?