Thursday, 28 April 2016

Prince: Lessons In How To Achieve and Maintain Success

Prince shocked the music world and beyond when it was reported that he was found dead at his studio on April 21 at the age of 57.  2016 had seen quite a few deaths in the entertainment world such as Glenn Frey and David Bowie but Prince's death was international news because it was so unexpected and sudden.

The tributes that poured in and the estimated net worth of Prince at $300 million and growing showed how successful he was at his craft.  In fact, he took the top two spots on the Billboard album chart the week after his passing and this is after selling 100 million albums during his career.

His impact is easy to see when looking at the Billboard 200 for the second week of May 2016, where he occupies 5 out of the Top 7 albums on the charts.  This is in part thanks to the proliferation of Prince videos on YouTube after his death, which have amassed millions of views and shows how much pent-up demand there was for his previously-banned videos.

What Are Some Lessons From His Success?

1) Use Your Talents and Have Faith In Yourself

Prince`s first album For You was released in 1978 when he was only 20 years old.  Rather than using studio musicians, he played all 27 instruments himself.  Rather than having any outside help, he composed, arranged and produced all of the songs himself also.  He was able to do this by having Warner Brothers grant his full creative control over his first three albums.

The result?  the combination of his songwriting skills,  musicianship, recognition of the power of music videos through MTV and a knack for creating just the amount of controversy resulting in an increasingly successful string of albums which culminated in the monster album Purple Rain. Released in 1984, Purple Rain spent 24 consecutive weeks at Number One on the Billboard Album Charts and the movie of the same name grossed almost $70 million at the box-office.

Fight For Yourself And What You Believe In

Warner Brothers signed Prince when he was a teenager and reaped the rewards when Prince became a megastar who sold millions of albums.  However, as has happened with many acts such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, disputes arose between the artist and the record company.

The history of the dispute between Prince and Warner Brothers was ongoing and complex but it was marked most notably by Prince changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol and referring to himself as 'The Artist Formerly Known As Prince'.  Why?  He felt that the record company took over the name 'Prince' for itself despite the fact that it was his actual first name, not a stage moniker.  The dispute went on for years and was marked by such instances as Prince writing 'Slave' on his cheeks.  It obviously rubbed some people the wrong way but Prince managed to win in the end when he gained back control of his catalog from Warner Brothers in 2014.  All of the extra publicity throughout the dispute didn't hurt either!

Be In Control Of Your Image And Your Work

Until his sudden passing, it was impossible to find Prince videos on YouTube as he had anything with his music or image taken down as a copyright violation. He wrote over 600 songs so that's a lot of potential YouTube videos to watch out for! He also asked people to turn off their cellphones at concerts, at business meetings and for visitors to his house.

This kept an air of mystery about Prince, definitely in contrast to other celebrities such as the Kardashians.  In the months before his death, he did a series of concerts where it was only himself, a piano and a microphone.  He played his songs solo without any accompaniment, a rarity for a rock or pop artist, but the tour sold out instantly and the shows received rave reviews.  The fact that people couldn't see Prince on the internet made them all the more desperate to see him live, even if just to catch a glimpse of him performing.  It all further proved the adage that "Less is more:".  In Prince's case, it was "A lot less is a lot more!".

As The Billboard chart from May 14, 2016 showed, there was still huge demand for Prince's music.  Having five albums in the top 7 demonstrated that talent and hard work are sure paths to success and that it helps not to overexpose yourself or make people tired of seeing you all the time.

Success = talent + hard work.  As Prince showed by being true to himself, how you manage your resulting success can make all the difference.  Rest in peace, Mr. Nelson.

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