Musicians are some of the savviest internet users around, building fan bases, sharing music, and even breaking into the industry thanks to the web. But it wasn’t always that way. In the internet’s early days, few people knew how to use it, least of all rock stars. Most music industry professionals thought it was another office tool destined to fade quietly away. A handful of visionaries thought otherwise, though. They saw a means to revolutionize their art, and modern music wouldn’t be the same, or even possible, without them.
Prince declared the internet was over in 2010, then later earned an Aggrievement Award for his antagonism against digital distribution and people using his material online. Backtrack a few decades to the mid-1990s, though, and Prince had an expansive vision of music careers — his first, of course — transformed by the internet. Frustration fueled his vision, but that same vision also predicted his less than generous future stance.