U2’s Bono: Apple ‘more creative than a lot of people in rock bands, lead singer is Steve Jobs’

Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune music critic, has conducted an interview with U2’s Bono that touches on the subjects of Apple, iPod, and Steve Jobs:

Kot: Why is the idea of associating a song with a product a good idea?

Bono: I accept that that is alarming. I really do. Our being on TV, I don’t have a problem with that — we should be on TV. But OK, associating our music with a product. You’ve got to deal with the devil. Let’s have a look. The devil here is a bunch of creative minds, more creative than a lot of people in rock bands. The lead singer is Steve Jobs. These men have helped design the most beautiful object art in music culture since the electric guitar. That’s the iPod. The job of art is to chase ugliness away. Everywhere we look we see ugly cars, ugly buildings… you see ugly objects in the work place. Everywhere. And these people are making beautiful objects… Selling out is doing something you don’t really want to do for money. That’s what selling out is. We asked to be in the ad.

Kot: “Vertigo” is an iPod commercial, not a single on an album.

Bono: Sometimes I’ve seen a great song ruined by a bad video. Rarely. It doesn’t bother me. If I love the song, I love the song. We looked at the iPod commercial as a rock video. We chose the director. We thought how are we going to get our single off in the days when rock music is niche? When it’s unlikely to get a three-minute punk-rock song on top of the radio? So we piggy-backed this phenomenon to get ourselves to a new younger audience, and we succeeded. And it’s exciting. I’m proud of the commercial, I’m proud of the association… “Vertigo,” which you didn’t like, is deceptively simple. That riff, you can think, “Aw yeah, another rock song.” It doesn’t become great the first time you hear it. It becomes great the thousandth time you hear it. And that’s true of a lot of rock riffs. So we have to get the density of exposure for that to be a hit. And we knew that.

Full article with much more here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bono’s right. “Vertigo” gets better each time you hear it and U2 did the iPod ad right.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft’s Bill Gates might be Bono’s friend but owning an Apple U2 iPod is out of the question – April 25, 2005
U2, Apple Computer iPod, iTunes Music Store partnership has deep roots – November 07, 2004
Apple’s iPod Photo and iPod U2 Special Edition are only going to add to iPod mania – October 29, 2004
Bono-Glaser photo caption contest now open – October 25, 2004
Some U2 fans furious over group’s Apple iPod deal – October 24, 2004
Apple releases two new iPod ads featuring U2 – October 12, 2004


  1. But if U2 had made the song/ad for a Microsoft product and it was promoting Xbox or used by Dell to promote their Mp3 player would you still like it?
    Hell no!

  2. I agree, the first time I heard Vertigo… nothing. It wasn’t until the fifth or sixth time, that I started catching my self mentally sing, “Uno, Dos… Hello, hello” that I really started loving the song, and those iPod ads are what provided the exposure- not radio, MTV or even VH1.

    So yeah, if they had done it for Microsoft, I’d be pissed. But that wouldn’t be the first time, there have been a number of sucky products with commercials that have great songs, and damn if that doesn’t make them memorable. But I think U2 is talking about the difference when you select a product and avenue that you love and or believe in versus someone just offering you money to use a good song.

  3. You miss the point he said that these people (ie Apple) are creative, attempt to determine the new not re hash old ideas and therefore have an affinity with what he is doing or at least what he feels he is doing, and that you have to accept whether you actually like U2 or not. Dell, Microsoft et al patently do not qualify there they are the spice girls- all talk no talent, Some people understand this many do not.

  4. Gackle the Great: of course, not! Microsoft & Dell are ugly. Instead Apple is beutiful (right now I’m writing you in a PowerBook, and there are near me two Dells with XP making a lot of noise)

  5. U2 have always been a “cool” band. To tie in their product (don’t fool yourself, the album is a product and nothing more) with another product in the same type of market is smart business. The iPod is as cool as the band (or their image anyway) and one can help the other reach into demographics they we not in before. Just like in the artical, selling out is doing something you don’t want to do for the money, they wanted to do this. All in all I would say the relationship is a win win deal for all. PS My new iMac G5 rules the world. (my world anyway).

    My 2 cents.

  6. Regardless of how “beautiful” the iPod is, the only motive for U2 was to get airtime for a crappy Top 40 song like “Vertigo” (what profound lyrics: hello, hello, yeah, yeah, yeah).

    Bono says he is proud of the iPod commercial. Now that is a rather alarming statement to hear from an established artist.

    Obviously, U2’s music is no longer powerful enough to stand alone and deliver a message which makes an impact. Who knows? Maybe there is no longer a purpose to U2’s music, other than to sell a product.

    This is the same reason why Bono spends a significant portion of U2’s live concerts preaching about human rights. A real artist lets his music do the talking, not his mouth or his commercials.

  7. SphinxMontreal.

    Just like the other Quebec Loosers up here in Canada, you let your educational level (or lack there of) jump out at everyone with everything you say. Your total lack of understanding is very loud and clear. Speaking as someone in the music industry in Canada, for a long time, I can see you are still lost in the “integrity of the artist” bulls@#t. Wake up! The whole idea is to make money. If they were in it for the art and not the cash they would be an indi band. No major label bands have integrity, they have cash.

    PS. F@#k the Block. they are nation wreckers.

  8. U2 doing the promo for a mircosoft product is a mute point – cool people generally do not work for uncool companies (though they may be the guest of the founder).

  9. pogo: “cool people generally do not work for uncool companies”

    more brilliant research backed with no facts by another resident genius….

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