By: Allison Wisyanski ~Staff Writer~
On Sept. 9, Apple unveiled the new Apple Watch, the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay at its media event. At the end, U2 performed, and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the album would be available for free to iTunes users. A day or so later, the album showed up on the iPhone’s “Cloud.”
U2’s lead singer Bono wrote an online essay entitled “Remember Us?” He wrote that the band wants to get its music to “as many people as possible,” CBS News Online said. He also wrote, “For the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.”
The free album provoked somewhat of an outrage from plenty of individuals. For some,
it was difficult to eliminate the “U2 virus.”
Some individuals did not have the songs automatically download on their devices and their settings controlled whether the songs downloaded or stayed in iCloud on the “Albums Purchased” playlist.
The songs could be deleted from the device but could only be hidden in the Cloud, which irritated many since they could not “disassociate it completely from their account,” Business Insider said.
The album was sitting there “like an Ikea catalog. Or a jury summons. Or streptococcus,” Chris Richards of The Washington Post said. Others questioned whether this could be a sign of things to come, of future albums deposited into online accounts in marketing hijinks disguised as gifts.
Angry tweets about the album filled the Twitter timeline following the automatic download of the album. One user stated that he would “rather have food poisoning on Christmas,” and another asked, “Why and how did a random U2 album download onto my phone?”
Many users were concerned with the storage that the album now took up, causing one individual to express his thoughts on Twitter as well. “I don’t even have enough storage
on my phone to take a pic, so what makes Apple think I want the U2 album automatically
downloaded in my music?” he said.
Although many were extremely upset with Apple, there were still people who thoroughly enjoyed the free album. One Twitter user wrote, “So people are mad that Apple gave them a free U2 album? We are now scraping from the bottom of the barrel of first-world problems.”
Apple has over 800 million iTunes accounts, so the album surely reached a large population.
To date, U2’s total album sales have been about 150 million. Its previous album, “No Line
on the Horizon,” sold five million copies. The band clearly wants to reach out to more people, and having its album downloaded for free onto 800 million devices will surely do that.
Other artists may follow in U2’s footsteps and release albums for free. “Album dropping” has
become a recent trend thanks in large part to Beyoncé’s iTunes surprise last Christmas.