Some iTunes users upset over Apple’s U2 album giveaway

“U2, one of the most popular rock bands in the world, gave a new album for free to half a billion users of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes software,” Crayton Harrison and Tim Higgins report for Bloomberg. “Not cool, some recipients said.”

“‘Who is U2? And why do their songs keep popping up in my iPhone?’ a Twitter user named Natalie said yesterday in one of a number of tweets compiled on Storify. ‘I’ve never bought their music,’ Harrison and Higgins report. “The album giveaway was announced two days ago following Apple’s unveiling of new iPhones and a wearable device called Apple Watch. U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ album, featuring 11 songs, is free to active iTunes account holders and those who sign up within five weeks, the company said then. The album began appearing in users’ libraries within a day or so after it was announced.”

“‘Nothing pisses off the audience more than pushing something they don’t want and didn’t ask for to their devices,’ Bob Lefsetz, author of a music industry blog, wrote yesterday. ‘Even if you don’t download the album, it’s sitting there in your purchases, pissing you off,'” Harrison and Higgins report. “While some complained online about the free album, others praised it. ‘Thanks for the #gift what an awesome album, it’s on repeat in my car!!’ said a Twitter user named Jason Steenkamp. Users who had auto-download turned on can delete the unwanted album if they want. It will remain among a list of purchased items, meaning it can be re-downloaded later.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: fwposFWPOS.

Apple, anytime you want to give us stuff for free, as long as we can delete it, go for it!

Related: RollingStone‘s review of U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ album.

Related article:
Apple and U2 release ‘Songs of Innocence’ exclusively for iTunes Store customers – September 9, 2014


  1. It’s not on your phone, as I understand it, it’s in the cloud. If that is correct, It’s not taking up any memory. It shouldn’t be any more annoying than the Weather app you can’t delete. If this is the worst problem you have in your life, I’ll trade mine for yours any time.

    1. If you had it set to auto download new stuff it was. I had to delete it, but it did download.

      Apple should have just gave it away, but the user had to actually GO to the album in iTunes to download it.

      I’m not mad that it downloaded, but they shouldn’t have pushed it in everyone.

      1. And if you aren’t using iCloud or auto-download – – when you go to the Apple Store to *pull* it … it won’t let you download it!

        As the page loads, ‘Free’ flashes for a 0.3sec, then it goes to a greyed-out “Purchased”.


    2. I’ve looked from my phone to my various desktops and laptops, but have not found this almum in any of iTunes libraries. The iTunes Store says a I purchased it, but where it is is a mystery to me.

      1. That’s the point of some of the above comments – it isn’t there unless you download it. It is waiting in the cloud. Unless you auto-download purchases from the cloud, in which case it should then be there even if you didn’t want it.

        1. This is/was part of the problem. *some* got it pushed to them, others did not.
          Some got it during the keynote, or right after, while others had to wait longer.

          Wasn’t perfectly smooth and consistent.

          But getting an album to 500 million people… I don’t think anyone can do it perfect the first time.

        1. This sounds like a bug I had experienced. What I had to do was:

          To to iTunes preferences
          Turn off the “Show iTunes in the Cloud purchases” (or turn it on if it was already off)
          Authenticate with my Apple ID
          Go back and turn it back on (if you first had to turn it off)
          Go to your music (list by albums or songs)

          The album will be there, and next to it, there should be a cloud icon with a down arrow. When you click / tap on the cloud, you request download to your device. Similar process on Mac and iOS.

        2. I didn’t find it either at first. But when I went to my iTunes Store, under “Music Quick Links” on the right side of the home page, there is a link that says “Purchased.” When I clicked on that I found the album and was able to download it to my computer. It then showed up in my library.

    1. Free stuff worth $10 offered to you? Rant and wail about it. The poor rich. Such suffering.

      Nope! It’s not forced on you. You have to REQUEST that it be downloaded to your Apple gear. But rant and wail about it anyway, whaaah whaaah whaaah. 😥 😥 😥

    1. Lookie! There’s a buncha pizza delivery and maid services ads hanging on my doorknob! Yay! Oooh, and a five-pound block of wet yellow pages in my driveway! Woohoo! It’s all so free and I’m so happy! I LOVE it when people throw their garbage on me—for free! And if I don’t want it, all I hafta do is go clean it up! Yaaay!

  2. I’ve seen people whining about this on other fora I infes sorry inhabit, and I keep wanting to say ‘what are you, ten?’ Bunch of whiney little bitches.
    So it sits there in your purchases? So what? Is that something that you see on your homescreen every day? No.
    So stop snivelling, start acting like a fscking grown-up, and kindly shut the fsck up already!
    And breathe…

    1. Sadly, Ukraine is toast.
      NATO has made some noise and done nothing.
      Obama has made some noise and done nothing.
      The UN has made some noise and done nothing.
      The EU has made some noise and done nothing.

      Putin knows the score and geography is on his side.
      How long before there are Russian soldiers in Odessa and Kiev?

  3. One of biggest music groups in the world teaming up with the biggest tech company in the world for a free album?! Great idea I say. Don’t understand the hate for this. Sure, you may not like U2, but it’s free and can be removed from one’s iDevice. It was a brilliant marketing stunt which was a positive for both sides, Apple & U2. And so to the iTunes user. Nothing but praise…

  4. Brand new album for free from, U2, one of the most well known and talented bands ever. I guess some people enjoy complaining so much they have search desperately for something to complain about. As for me I downloaded it and have it a listen. It’s not bad at all. That first track, the one they performed at the keynote is pretty catchy. I think I’d have liked Joshua Tree better. But since all the rest of their albums are on sale for a reduced price, I think I’ll buy Joshua Tree anyway. And Rattle And Hum. And a few other miscellaneous songs. Cool deal to me!

    1. Thing is, you can’t please everybody.

      If you’re a fan of U2 (like I see you are), this is the coolest thing happening.

      If you’re not (like me), well… honestly I don’t see what’s all the bitching about. You don’t like it, just don’t listen to it, or delete it or something. I’m not offended at all. In fact, in the future, there might be a free record from a band I actually like. So, I don’t see this as a bad deal at all.

      1. The funny part is I’m not even sure if consider myself a real fan. (More of a Beatles and Buddy Holly fan really.) I think they are very talented. I do like a bunch of their songs. As of Tuesday I only have two of their albums. Tomorrow I plan to have more of their music.

  5. I’m not a U2 fan. I used to like them. I don’t like the band, I don’t like the music (nothing after “The Joshua Tree”), I think they are one of the most overrated bands ever.

    Now, being that my opinion (and we all know what they say about opinions, hehe!), as long as it’s not eating my storage nor my memory nor my bandwidth, I’m all for free music.

    The reason? Hey, perhaps tomorrow a really cool band might be invited to Apple, and I’ll get that record.

    Having said that, I don’t expect Rush or AC/DC or Iron Maiden at Apple’s stage any soon…. *sigh*

    I’m just being an ass here, LOL!!

  6. If you look at the survey on the left, there are twenty voters who considered U2 freebie the greatest announcement of the presentation. Now, granted, some of them may be a sarcastic commentary about purported lack of “real” innovation at Apple, but I’m sure quite a few of those votes consider this freebie truly appealing.

    Don’t forget, this is the band that got way more Grammys than any other band in the history of the award, 22 out of 34 nominations (Beatles won only 7, for example). Obviously, the guys have been active for over 30 years now, so they had plenty of time to rake in those Grammys, but that also means that they were fairly consistent in quality.

    We may like them or not, but the general consensus among those who follow this type of music is that they are among the top ten in the world today (and for quite some time now).

    Whiners will whine, though…

    1. True, whether you like them or not, they are one of the top bands. As a matter of fact, since the album is free, I’ll check it out. I might like it. I don’t want to be as narrow-minded to just say “It’s U2, I don’t like them, I will just trash the album”.

      Every musician deserves a chance. Most great musicians screwed up at a certain point. Sure. I’m not a fan, but I’ll listen to it. Who know?

    2. I’m one of the 20, and it isn’t at all sarcastic.

      The iP6 is too big.
      The Watch doesn’t monitor glucose. (No, I didn’t really think it would, but had high hopes.) Without that, it doesn’t interest me a lot.
      iOS8? Okay, sure, I’ll get it (at 8.0.2, likely), but I won’t be holding my breath.
      Pay? Okay, I lied a little bit, perhaps. This *will* be huge, but *I* won’t be able to use it anytime soon. (See notes on iP6 and Watch, either of which is required to make Pay work.)
      So, yeah, U2 was the winner for me.

    1. It’s been like this since the 1980s. They’re like the Irish version of creed – every track sounds just as boring as the one that came before it.

      And like creed, they think they’re fantastic. That’s why people end up throwing objects at them onstage.

  7. Maybe some iTunes users need to try some new music and broaden their musical taste beyond most of the crap passing as popular music today. You just got free music from one of the best bands ever maybe give it a listen!

  8. “‘Nothing pisses off the audience more than pushing something they don’t want and didn’t ask for to their devices,’

    That’s one of the stupidest comments I’ve heard all week, in a week with plenty of stupid.

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