Following the tragic and untimely death of the vivacious, outrageously talented and endlessly creative musical icon Prince, many tributes have referred to the lasting imprint the star will have on the music industry.
Aside from his legendary live shows, groundbreaking albums and genre bending innovation, the late artist also sprinkled some of his purple magic on the film industry, paving the way for a new style of movie marketing in the process.
His eleventh studio album, Batman, was released as a tie-in to Tim Burton's 1989 film of the same name. Following its release, the LP went on to sell 11 million copies, and nestled itself atop the billboard charts for six weeks.
A Deliberate Marketing Tool
What makes the feat all the more impressive is the fact Warner Bros. studios deliberately engineered the release of the album as a direct tool to drum up (no pun intended) interest for Burton's Dark Knight feature. Utilizing the artist they had under their wing, the studio decided to meld Prince's stellar reputation into the film's marketing campaign.
Following the successful precedent of the Purple Rain movie/album concoction, Prince expedited the production of the LP. Although three tracks were recorded previously, the funk wizard crafted an entire album's worth of material, all providing a unique and underrated commentary on Batman's psyche.
The film — featuring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson as the Joker — was one of the first to combine two soundtracks. Three of the singles were included in the film: "The Future," "Trust," and "Partyman!."
But of all the songs, "Batdance" was the most successful. In addition to reaching the number one slot, the music video was an amalgamation of Prince's eclectic, magnetizing style and Batman's hallmarks; Prince himself was dressed half Joker, half Batman.
Changing The Face Of Movie Promotion
There is no denying the album was a marketing tool, and also a contrived catalyst to boost Prince's career. Yet despite the narrow confines, Prince still found a way to flex his creative muscles, stay true to his artistic integrity, and transform movie marketing in the process.
In a manner only Prince could achieve, despite being boxed in he was outside of the box, despite being dressed as two of the most recognizable comic book characters in the world, he was unique. And, as a testament to the man's talents, his work changed the face of movie marketing forever.
Do you think Prince's soundtrack fits well with the Batman movie?