Shut up already, u got 2 get off… damn, Housequake closed?
There’s a little notice over at our friend-site, housequake.com today that says:
Housequake.com is closed until further notice…
On ‘request’ by Prince I changed back the old Housequake header. Sorry people, but I can’t afford to play any more games. Thanks to Prince & his staff for their “support” over the years.
I don’t know the entire story, but understand it to be something along the lines of a disagreement over (the usual) copyright wrangling between Prince and his fansites, of the same sort that this site has been involved in in the past, multiple times. It really doesn’t matter much what the exact details are — clearly, there is, and has pretty much always been, a disconnect between how Prince perceives his best business interests, and his fans’ desired acceptance of their abilities to ‘remix’ officially-sourced content (photos, lyrics, you name it), etc.
This particular latest development in the ongoing tug-of-rope between the Prince camp and the fans, isn’t really anything new, but it’s somewhat remarkable in that it has convinced, temporarily or permanently, one of Prince’s biggest and most dedicated supporters, Aaron, to throw in the towel. I hope it’s only temporary, but I wouldn’t blame him if HQ was shuttered for good. It’s incredibly frustrating committing your time, money, and effort to a site for Prince fans, which directly or indirectly, you feel benefits an artist. I don’t want to speak for any of the HQ staff, but I believe they probably feel the same way I do: that our sites are a key driver of fan loyalty, overall positive publicity, sales of albums and concert tickets, and a continued sense of relevancy in today’s culture.
Now, maybe Prince doesn’t agree that our sites perform these roles. Or maybe I’m wrong about it (but I doubt that). Really, it’s fine, I’ve made my peace with this situation long ago. I’ve been saying since the site started that prince.org has nothing directly to do with Prince, but everything to do with the extremely diverse community that has grown out of past and present (and if he’s lucky, future) Prince fans. When we launched this site in 1999, it was right in the banner as it is today: independent and unofficial. We don’t want any special treatment from Prince or his camp, at least not if there’s strings attached (and, there always are). We just want to bring folks together who might have now, or have had, a common interest, a common thread of experience as a basis for sparking communication and speaking with a bit of shared lexicon. Sure, we’re happy to provide some Prince-related news and trivia, etc. as well; that stuff is of interest to some segment of the community, and is a resource to the internet as a whole. But I am still close friends with many people I met through a shared interest in Prince. I wouldn’t say I’m still a friend, or fan, or fam, or whatever the hell the currently-authorized term is, of Prince. And that’s okay.
So, while I’ll miss HQ if it really does disappear into the ether for good, and I’ll always sympathize with my friend Aaron, I’m convinced the ultimate losers will be Prince if this stands. First, the hard-core fanbase in Europe, which I always took as HQ’s core audience, will be pretty offended and discouraged, and I’m sure at least a few of them will defect in disgust. Now, I’ve think some of the HQ (and prince.org, to a lesser extent) users are such diehard fans that I’m convinced Prince could personally come to their house and abuse their puppy in front of them, and they’d still smile and simply stutter out the request for an autograph. For these folks, the closure of any one site, even one as important as HQ, won’t convince them to swear off Prince forever. But it still isn’t good PR, and I can imagine there’s just as many diehards who, like Aaron, will stop to put in the extra effort it takes to keep the community vibrant, which is a shame. A dedicated, excited, vibrant community is what supports Prince through the random silly shit he constantly decides to undertake/say/etc., and still buy everything available and spread the gospel of “you must see Prince in concert before you die”, which is what drives ticket sales… really. Sure, some folks are going to go just to see Purple Rain because they remember it was the song playing the first time they got to second base, but those folks increasingly have kids and decide, in economic downturns especially, to spend their concert-money on other things. This sort of badwill will, I’m convinced, ultimately trickle down to affecting Prince’s bottom line. But then again, it might accelerate his descent into being a permanent fixture at a low-rent Vegas lounge, which would be kind of a fun opportunity for lots of fans, too. Alright, I’m getting off track now, but the point is: I don’t think this is a smart move for Prince, but it’s his move to make.
That’s it, I’m stepping down from the soapbox for now. I support Aaron’s decision, whatever it might be — to bring the site back, or not to, or to change his mind later. If regular HQ visitors want to spend more time here on the org, they’re welcome — I’ll even create a “hardcore fan” forum with more stringent moderation if that’d help keep the community active… there should be someplace for that kind of discussion. We’re here for you, the now or once-, or future-Prince fan. Even if it does benefit Prince’s crazy ass in the process