U2 and Apple engaged in a heinous conspiracy to give millions of people a free copy of a terrific music album. Alright, not everyone agrees with the “terrific” part. U2 remain popular enough to fill huge arenas, but not everyone likes them.
But the album was free, and a whole lot of people complained about the fact that Apple made owning it an opt-out rather than an opt-in.
In a fan Q&A video posted on Facebook, lead singer Bono was asked by a site user to never release an album in the way that the band and Apple released Songs of Innocence ever again. “It’s really rude,” the Facebook user wrote.
Bono replied, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. Had this beautiful idea. Might’ve got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self-promotion. And, deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn’t be heard.”
U2, still among the biggest bands in the entire world, fears that their songs might not be heard? It’s quite human to feel that one is toiling in obscurity, so much so that even Bono can’t escape it.
Bono continued: “It’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”
As a large-scale social experiment, the release of Songs of Innocence might teach us quite a bit about human nature. Free gifts are not always received with gratitude, are they?
True story: My TV provider called me up yesterday out of the blue. The man on the line said that, as a way of thanking me for subscribing, they were turning on a bunch of premium channels for a few months, for free. I thanked him, set a note in my calendar for when the free period expires so I could cancel if I want, and then checked my listings. None of the free premium channels were there. And I was annoyed at my TV provider.
Putting all of the First World complaints about getting free music forced onto phones aside, Songs of Innocence is an awesome rock album that ought to have had no trouble cutting through the noise with lots of good noise of its own. If you like U2, which I happen to. It rates among U2’s best work, easily.