Prince Runs Tight Ship, Talks Ownership With Billboard

Prince is no joke when it comes to allowing people, especially journalists, in his space. When interacting with Billboard for his recently revealed cover story, Prince laid out a number of rules or "requests."

"One thing you learn quickly about Prince: He doesn't suffer fools or folks who don't know what they're talking about. For the next three hours, we ricochet back and forth on a variety of topics. Later, back at my hotel, I'll be re-creating our conversation from memory," Gail Mitchell (of Billboard) reports of her time with the soon to be 2013 Billboard Icon Award recipient.

Going behind the scenes with Prince in Minneapolis, Mitchell says Prince is adamant about not allowing reporters to record conversations and as of late, take notes… even if they know what they're doing or what they are talking about, including ownership.

"This is how Prince interviews have unfolded for many years. He remains adamant about not allowing reporters to record their conversations with him. ("Some in the past have taken my voice and sold it," he says. "I can't remember the incident that triggered it and it's probably best that I don't.") And he still frowns at the idea of a reporter taking notes. ("That would be just like texting.")," writes Mitchell.

"Later on, I will watch Prince audition a drummer. Right now, I'm involved in an audition of my own," Mitchell adds. "Let's talk a little," Prince says as I follow him into a second-floor conference room, "and see if we vibe first." Without missing a beat and keeping steady eye contact, he makes a few comments about media ownership and control, then shoots out a question. How would I get the word out about, and then monetize a lyric video for, one of his new songs, "Screw Driver," that I'd been shown a few minutes earlier? I tell him an online post will generate enough interest to get us to monetization-given the fan clamor for new Prince music, there's a community ready to pay a nominal price to get their hands on said track. Nothing revolutionary, but Prince pauses and thinks it over. I think I may have passed the audition."

For more of the just unveiled Billboard cover story with Prince visit Billboard or pick up the issue, which is available now.