For those who don’t know, on around the 9th of September, U2 released their new album exclusively on iTunes and it was automatically downloaded on to every iTunes users clouds for free downloading. This led to mass outrage from iPhone users, who felt angry and upset thanks to receiving this free album. There were mass outcries on social media sites such as twitter questioning who U2 was. There was even a website created called whoisU2.com to inform those who were confused by who they were. U2, who have sold over 150 million albums and won 22 Grammy awards, is apparently not well known among the teens and young adults today.
The New Yorker’s pop music critic, Sasha Frere-Jones, compared the stunt to junk mail. “Don’t shove your music into people’s homes,” he wrote. “A U2 album that some would have taken seriously was instead turned into an album that seems as pointless as it probably is. Lack of consent is not the future.”
Iggy Pop, the so-called “godfather of punk”, criticised the stunt this week. “The people who don’t want the free U2 download are trying to say, ‘Don’t try to force me,’ and they’ve got a point,” he said. “Part of the process when you buy something from an artist, it’s kind of an anointing, you are giving that person love.”
Due to the massive outcry from users, Apple had to create an app for users to remove the album from their library.
This week there was a Q&A on Facebook with U2 being interviewed by fans. During the interview, one of the fans asked, "Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again? It's really rude." This led to Bono apologising to those who received the free album, Songs Of Innocence. “Oops … I’m sorry about that,” he said. “I had this beautiful idea and we might have gotten carried away with ourselves, artists are prone to that thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess, we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”
What are your thoughts on this? Are the users right to be outraged or are they acting like spoilt brats? Would you be happy receiving a free CD?