NEW YORK (AFP) - Prince, whose distaste for the music industry's conventions is well known, has abruptly disappeared from social media after tentative efforts to promote his two new albums.
As of late Tuesday, the megastar's Twitter and Facebook accounts had both disappeared and almost all videos from his official account had been taken off YouTube.
He offered no immediate commentary - on social media or elsewhere - on the reasons for the action.
But his two latest albums, which he released simultaneously last September, remained on the streaming service Spotify.
The move puts him at odds with most musicians, both newcomers and longtime stars, who have considered social media a virtual obligation to reach out to fans.
A number of stars - most famously Taylor Swift - have criticised Spotify, accusing it of insufficient payouts to artists, but have nonetheless invested sustained energy in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Prince had entered social media to promote the latest two albums but had barely disguised his lack of enthusiasm.
He advertised a Facebook question-and-answer session after he joined the site but, after hours of queries, he responded to just one - an esoteric matter about audio tuning - by offering a link to an article.
The Purple Rain legend is known for bristling at the commercial advice of the music industry.
Two decades ago, he wrote "slave" on his cheek and changed his name to the unpronounceable "love symbol" to protest his contractual terms with Warner Brothers.
But he returned to Warner Brothers for his latest two albums - Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum, the latter performed with the all-female trio 3rdEyeGirl.
He was an early proponent of the Internet but later campaigned to crack down on unauthorised use of his songs.
He released his last album in 2010 on a CD distributed as an insert to several European newspapers.
In an interview at the time with one of the newspapers, Britain's Daily Mirror, he declared the Internet to be "completely over" and said of digital gadgets: "They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."