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Remastering Prince and authenticity: marketing the posthumous cultural artefacts of a past musical life

Faculty Advisor




Sign o' the Times, box sets, music industry, pop culture, music album, compilation, pop star authenticity

Abstract (summary)

Hailed as one of the most versatile artists of his time, Prince is marked in history for his revolutionary music that rendered his appearance as a cultural icon across various music aficionados around the world. The posthumous evolution of Prince’s legacy is largely embedded in the reproduction and (re)release of material that not only presents him as a music artist but a commercial product for the market. This created a new cultural space where the reception of an exceptional creative artist found new dimensions, and the commercial value of his musical life became equally important as its cultural and artistic significance. The release of the Super Deluxe Sign o’ the Times 2020 box set is one of the recent evidence of such a situation in which material enacted as cultural artefacts preserves and transposes Prince to a new generation of musical reception. This article analyses the ideas of marketability and authenticity in the contemporary era reception of Prince and its ongoing attempts to appropriate cultural artefacts through commodification and commercialization. It argues that cultural artefacts do not replicate the authentic lived career of Prince but, on the contrary, they reflect the past legacy of an iconic star to maintain his marketability in a new era of music, performance and cultural activities.

Publication Information

Raj, S. J., & Suresh, A. K. (2022). Remastering Prince and authenticity: Marketing the posthumous cultural artefacts of a past musical life. Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, 12(2/3), 171–183.


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