Prince on Branding, Pt. 4

All of the above would be pretty meaningless if it weren’t for one thing: Prince delivered. He combined prodigious talent with a relentless work ethic. His music, especially when he first began recording, was ground-breaking. He insisted that his manager get him the chance to do a movie with a major studio — then created Purple Rain on a shoestring budget and watched it pull in millions at the box office. He wrote songs for other artists, many of which became their signature hits (“Manic Monday” for the Bangles, “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinéad O’Connor). His performance on the back end of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at a George Harrison tribute is a legendary bit of show-stealing, one that clearly delighted the late Beatle’s son Dhani. Part of a powerful brand is simply outworking the other guys.