Online archive of Prince's websites

Prince presents an award on stage at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Prince presents an award on stage at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK • An online archive of 16 of Prince's official websites spanning the last two decades was unveiled on Monday, nearly 11 weeks after the music icon was found dead at his Paisley Park estate outside of Minneapolis from an accidental overdose of a powerful painkiller.

Called the Prince Online Museum, the archive features a timeline of the websites, from the musician's first, TheDawn.com, which went live on Valentine's Day 1996, to 3rdEyeGirl.com, created in 2013 and named after his band.

The timeline explains the concept behind each of the sites - none of which are active today - and provides testimonials from the people who were involved in creating and running them for Prince.

"They are snapshots in time to experience the websites just like they were when they were active," said Mr Sam Jennings, the director of the Prince Online Museum, who worked with the musician for nine years. "Other than the music, there is another side to Prince, which was his fierce independence and wanting to connect directly with his audience without any middlemen."

The online museum was conceived by Mr Jennings, who said that no one is receiving money for the project.

Prince, who died at the age of 57, was a passionate advocate for artists' rights. He viewed the Web as a pivotal way for musicians to link directly with the public, without relying on long-standing corporate music distribution models.

On the new site, Mr Jennings wrote: "Over 20 years online, Prince launched nearly 20 different websites, maintained a dozen different social media presences, participated in countless online chats and directly connected with fans around the world."

In 2001, he and Prince created the NPG Music Club as an "online distribution hub", according to Mr Jennings' own website.

The NPG club, featured in the Prince Online Museum, offered "new music, radio shows, and concert tickets directly to fans at a time when very few artists were taking full advantage of the Internet, and certainly not independently without any strings to the industry". Mr Jennings said he unveiled the new archive on Monday to mark the 10th anniversary of the shutdown of NPG.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Online archive of Prince's websites'. Print Edition | Subscribe