By now you will no doubt heard of the, umm, collaboration between U2 and Apple. In case you live under, well… U2′s new album has been released via iTunes, not just to those who actually want to purchase it to every iTunes user. Bono and Tim Cook have dreamed this gift up; placing the new album in every single iTunes user’s library. That’s around 500 million accounts. Apple are very pleased with themselves about this. Its a historic music industry event, we’re reliably informed. Or, if the reaction on twitter is to be considered, it’s an incredibly arrogant and spammy move from brands that should know better.
The complaints on twitter have been non stop today. As far as I can see, the *whole* world is actually offended by this. It’s incredibly conceited behaviour, to presume that enough people would want to hear the new U2 album. At best it’s a spammy tactic; hoping that people will listen because it just happens to be there. This isn’t just a free download; Apple have already placed the album on your iOS device, and in your iTunes library. Whether you wanted it or not.
I’m not bagging on U2 here. I actually like one or two of their reords. For me, this says sooo much about the ‘old’ way. Within the distorted bubble of a U2 tour, it probably seems to Bono that the whole world loves his band, and 500 million people will gratefully receive his gift. Of course, today proves that not to be the case. There’ll never be a new band that reaches the colossal scale of U2 again; the industry that made them is long gone. I think that’s why I find this all a bit sad. I’m of a generation that watched that industry fall aprt. I used to think I’d grow up to be a Thom Yorke, a Michael Stipe; hell why not, a Bono. Those *huge* acts that were born not from hit factories, but ‘real’ music, placed on a pedestal by an industry that could invest millions to support them. That era is gone. Gone gone gone.
That’s not such a bad thing. Music is more interesting now. Anyone can have a chance to be heard, potentially at least, and music technology means that there is so much more music to here. When I started writing songs, I dreamed of impressing a record company enough to spend big on letting me make records; there was no other way. DAWs were in their infancy; now you make a record on a mobile phone.
The Apple/U2 move *stinks* of the old way. A huge company giving a massive boost to a hugely successful artist that doesnt need it. It says nothing about where music is today. There’s nothing modern or inventive about this; it’s an irrelevant last hurrah of multi-millionaires patting each other on the backs. Sigh. Apple have annoyed millions of their customers to please four blokes who were already doing okay…. I’ve chatted to people who are huge U2 fans that are still annoyed by the intrusive arrogance of it. If U2 fans aren’t even impressed, well, what does that tell you?
This is a glitch. The industry can’t support or make bands that big now; once the dinosaurs are out of the way, music will be truly interesting again…