Tributes have continued to flow following the death of music icon Prince, who passed away in his home in Chanhassen, Minneapolis yesterday. Warner Bros. Records, who released the majority of the superstar’s albums, led the official statements, while everyone from US President Barack Obama to Spotify shared something online.
Cameron Strang, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Records, said: "Today, we lost one of the most revolutionary talents of our time. Prince’s untimely passing is deeply shocking, reminding us that unique artists who chart their own course and move culture are precious few and irreplaceable.
"He leapt onto the scene in 1978 and it didn’t take the world long to realize that pop music had changed forever. He played the studio like an instrument and shattered the definition of live performance. He defined a new kind of superstardom, with a transformative impact not just on music, but on video, film, and style.
"Prince was the epitome of cool and mystery - an inspirational soul who created his own universe by bringing together different genres, races and cultures with a purity of sound and spirit unlike any other. His visionary gifts as a songwriter, vocalist, musician, performer and producer placed him in a league all his own.
"We are honored to have had Prince as a member of the Warner Bros. Records family during two eras of his astonishing career. We express our deepest condolences to everyone who loved him and join his family, friends and legion of fans in mourning his loss."
David Renzer, former chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group and now chairman of Spirit Music Group, who signed him to a publishing deal in 2005, told Music Week: "I signed him and even managed to renew the deal (for a small fortune!) in 2008 or 2009. I signed the first deal at a house in Beverly Hills he was renting at his dining table after his chef served us a superb meal. A lawyer was involved but Prince really was driving the process. I spent many long hours hanging with him. He could be incredibly gracious or incredibly difficult -- especially when railing against the many industry practises he had issues with. But always charismatic and one if best live performers I've ever seen. Best was watching him perform in the living room of his rented Beverly Hills mansion. It was like a private concert. Many stories..."
Neil Portnow, president & CEO of The Recording Academy, said: “Our Grammy family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time Grammy Award winner Prince. Today, we remember and celebrate hi, as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time. Never one to conform, he redefined and forever change our musical landscape. Prince was an original who influenced so many, and his legacy will live on forever. We have lost a true innovator and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his incredible work.”
Clive Davis, who released Prince's 1999 album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic via Artista Records, took to Instagram to say: "Prince was peerless as a musician, performer and songwriter. He was clearly one of the all-time greats, always mesmerizing, magical and cutting edge. He was one-of-a-kind in every respect. To know Prince personally was to know someone kind and gentle, phenomenally brilliant and intellectually curious, with every bone in his body loving music. The world of music has tragically lost one of its greatest defining members."
James Donio, president of the Music Business Association (Music Biz), commented in a statement: “In a year that has already brought the devastating losses of music luminaries such as David Bowie, George Martin, Merle Haggard, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, and Keith Emerson, Music Biz is once again deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Prince. He was a totally unique, ??iconic artist and brilliant innovator. Over the course of his four-decade career, Prince racked up 16 Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 (including four #1s), 19 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (including five #1s), and a whopping 16 Platinum albums, including the incomparable 13x-Platinum Purple Rain. These numbers are impressive, but frankly, his true impact is completely immeasurable. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans around the world. His legacy should inspire future generations to break down the barriers of formula and embrace a spirit of musical invention.”
In the UK, the BPI used several Twitter posts to say: “Prince was hugely innovative & in following his own path, he pushed musical boundaries in extraordinary ways & consistently broke new ground. A virtuoso in any instrument he played, Prince fused different musical styles to create a unique sound & influenced a generation of artists. Prince’s live shows were extraordinary & never disappointed his devoted fans. His enduring legacy in music’s pantheon of greats is assured. You will be missed Prince. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards: “Prince was hugely innovative and charismatic, and in resolutely following his individualistic path, he pushed musical boundaries in extraordinary ways to consistently break new ground. He skilfully fused different musical styles to create a unique sound that inspired devotion from fans and influenced a generation of artists. There is no doubting his place in the pantheon of modern music’s greats and we are deeply saddened to learn of his passing."
Paul Williams, ASCAP president and chairman, said: "Prince was that rare artist who created his own musical universe and invited us all to experience it. His phenomenal talents as a songwriter, producer, musician and performer gave us an opportunity to witness true creative genius. He will be missed, but he leaves behind music that elevates us all, and for that we are forever grateful.”
Michele Anthony, EVP, Universal Music Group, said, "I'm deeply saddened that we have lost one of our generation's most special artists. Over the past 24 years, I have been honored to work with Prince in a number of roles and I can say without question that he was the most brilliantly gifted musician, performer, songwriter and producer. The level of perfectionism and meticulousness that he brought to each of his many disciplines was unlike anything I have ever seen -- and I doubt very much that I will ever see again. He will be deeply missed by fans and artists alike."
Sony Music Entertainment also issued a statement: "Prince was a revolutionary and an iconic artist. He boldly transcended every conceivable boundary of genre and expectation to make music that uniquely was his own and ranks among the greatest of his generation – or any other. This is a tremendous loss for lovers of music everywhere. The Sony Music family joins the world in mourning his passing."
Tidal, which received Prince’s last album as an exclusive and has much of the icon’s back catalogue available for streaming, said online: “A genius, innovator, creator, family member, Prince will be truly missed. He shared his creative vision and asked for nothing in return. With heavy hearts – prayers and blessings go to all those around the world that share the same love as us. Let’s celebrate a legend.”
We’ll continue to post coverage throughout the day as more tributes continue to come in.
We join the world in mourning the loss of a genius, a legend, and an inspiration to generations of artists and fans. pic.twitter.com/nd5OgLcRdl— Spotify (@Spotify) April 21, 2016
You will be missed Prince. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/8Hw1x4KxoH— bpi music (@bpi_music) April 21, 2016
RIP to @prince…a true artist in every sense of the word. Gone way too soon.— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) April 21, 2016
Today is one of the saddest. His music really helped me understand who I am. Forever Urs ???? https://t.co/yn1dHAXck0— Mark Ronson (@MarkRonson) April 21, 2016
Rest in peace, my dear friend Prince. I and many others were so lucky to have known you. May your remarkable legacy live on forever xxx— Lianne La Havas (@liannelahavas) April 21, 2016
This is so heartbreaking???? I had this Prince pic drawn on my wall years ago because his music inspired so many R.I.P???? pic.twitter.com/60msa6hm3I— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) April 21, 2016
Saddened by Prince's death. Proud to have seen in the New Year with him. He seemed fine and played brilliantly funky music.— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) April 21, 2016