Why the anger over iTunes’ free U2 album ‘Songs Of Innocence?’

“Being angry about an album you were given for free does sound dumb, but due to the way iTunes purchase libraries work, that’s not the whole story,” Marco Arment blogs for Marco.org. “As far as most people can tell, purchases stick around forever. I didn’t even know you could hide purchases from your history until this, and I’m supposed to be an expert in Apple stuff.”

“The right way for Apple to do a big U2 promotional deal like this would have been to simply make the album free on the iTunes Store for a while and promote the hell out of that,” Arment blogs. “The damage here isn’t that a bunch of people need to figure out how to delete an album1 that they got for free and are now whining about. It’s that Apple did something inconsiderate, tone-deaf, and kinda creepy for the sake of a relatively unimportant marketing campaign, and they seemingly didn’t think it would be a problem.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We maintain this is overblown. FWPOS. Apple will learn from this, likely never execute a promotion in such a manner ever again, and nobody outside of overwrought media types and thankful U2 fans will remember this in three weeks.

Related articles:
Apple creates tool for removing free U2 album from iTunes library – September 15, 2014
Apple iTunes users download 2 million copies of new U2 album; 17 other U2 albums in iTunes top 100 chart – September 12, 2014
Apple’s new TV spot “Echoes” featuring U2, iTunes and iPhone 6 goes into heavy rotation – September 11, 2014
Some iTunes users upset over Apple’s U2 album giveaway – September 11, 2014
Apple and U2 release ‘Songs of Innocence’ exclusively for iTunes Store customers – September 9, 2014


  1. My mother has my old iPhone. She basically uses it to take photos and to listen to stuff in the garden. As a phone she makes the occasional call and barely uses data beyond connecting to the internet at home on wifi. She doesn’t install apps unless I find something I think she may use, and barely buys music. To make things as easy as possible I have automatic downloads on. As she is on PAYG, had I not intervened or she not been on wifi, she may have had to pay to download this. Not a lot, but still money. There are instances where this sort of thing would be wrong. It’s still overblown though.

    1. Agreed. Lots of people don’t like free newspapers at their door, or free magazines offered to them at their doorstep. The U2 album wasn’t FREE, it was purchased. U2 gained a whole lot of extra exposure. Essentially, it was a form of advertising, similar to the FREE concert at the superbowl. It’s not just that the U2 was available, it is that it was perpetually available, like it was painted on your wall everytime you used iTunes.

      When you take away people’s illusion of choice, they don’t like it. Even if it’s for a popular band like U2.

      1. I would have been fine, happy even if it had been free and then we choose to “buy” it. You couldn’t have any argument with that, I personally don’t mind having had it download, but that’s because it doesn’t negatively impact me in any way. There are instances, however minor where it could, and I think that is a legitimate issue.

    2. While we’re on the subject, I didn’t appreciate when iTunes automatically changed the album cover art in the artist list on my iPhone, some of which replaced images I specifically installed. I now have some images that I not only don’t want but are at times distasteful.

    1. Really. People throw around the expert moniker a little too freely. Especially when referring to themselves.

      Very few actual experts in any field in this world and he aint one of them.

    1. Not really. First, U2’s album isn’t similar to “a bunch of rusty old folding chairs.” You may not like the music, but it’s certainly not an eyesore or a danger on your phone or computer. Second, you’d have to pay to get rid of those old chairs. You don’t have to pay to get rid of an album you don’t like. You simply delete the songs, also for free. It takes about 10 seconds. Or you could simply ignore it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.
      It’s simply not a big deal.

      1. It’s more like, Apple stuffed an envelope of music into your PO BOX.

        Let’s get perspective here. If you don’t like the music, delete it. It’s no worse than SPAM (at the worst) and frankly what was tossed your way, has some intrinsic value, artistic integrity, and doesn’t want anything from you, or your money.

          1. Nope. I’d have simply deleted it. Even at very worst it’s not as bad as the money mailer envelope that arrives at home every week. That wastes real resources.
            In the time it’s taken you to write two posts about it you could have deleted the album 10 times.

          2. I suppose so. But, at worst it’s like they sent you a Victoria’s Secret catalog to your mail box, and your mailbox was a slot in the front door. Then you come home and witness your 10 to 12 year old son is reviewing the contents of that catalog. That is the worst. In reality it’s closer to Boy’s Life.

    1. You are just a hater because your career in your field has not gone even half as well as U2’s in their field. That is what all this is about, haters. Bono has been laughing all the way to the bank for over 30 years. Oh yeah, he has more money than you, is more socially conscious than you, and does good for all of humanity. You just hate on a fanboy blog.

  2. People are crying about this?
    What about all the crapware, bloatware, that is preinstalled on Android phones, Windows phones and computers?

    And these songs are not even downloaded to their devices.

  3. Why the anger? Heck that’s obvious it sets a precedence. I mean can imagine if someone decided to give peace on earth. Heck the Amurdercans would not have a clue what to do with it….

    unless the app to return it came out shortly after…

    or they got invasion plans, whichever came first.

    For the benefit of those not belonging to the civilized world this post contains the /shjtt (satire, humor, joke, tall tale) tag.

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