Apple and U2 working on secret project to save the music industry

“As an article in the new issue of TIME reveals, Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr believe so strongly that artists should be compensated for their work that they have embarked on a secret project with Apple to try to make that happen, no easy task when free-to-access music is everywhere (no) thanks to piracy and legitimate websites such as YouTube,” Catherine Mayer reports for TIME Magazine.

“Bono tells TIME he hopes that a new digital music format in the works will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music—whole albums as well as individual tracks,” Mayer reports. “The point isn’t just to help U2 but less well known artists and others in the industry who can’t make money, as U2 does, from live performance. ‘Songwriters aren’t touring people,’ says Bono. ‘Cole Porter wouldn’t have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn’t coming to a stadium near you.'”

“There’s more music on the way, not just an acoustic version of Songs of Innocence and bonus tracks but also a whole new album and a world tour,” Mayer reports. “Plus there’s their not inconsequential plan to save the music industry, news that will doubtless draw more 140-character darts in their direction.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note:

U2 on the cover of TIME's Sept. 29 International edition. (TIME/Sebastian Kim)
U2 on the cover of TIME’s Sept. 29 International edition. (TIME/Sebastian Kim)
Behind the TIME subscriber paywall, Bono talks to TIME about the band’s plans for their next release: “We’re about 18 months away from it… I think Songs of Experience will be released in a new format. And I think it’s going to get very exciting for the music business… [it will be] an audiovisual interactive format for music that can’t be pirated and will bring back album artwork in the most powerful way, where you can play with the lyrics and get behind the songs when you’re sitting on the subway with your iPad or on these big flat screens. You can see photography like you’ve never seen it before.”

Apple isn’t quite as loquacious as U2’s front man; the company will say only that it “declined comment on future product plans.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


    1. Step 4 – leave the country after every performance to evade taxes (they do this with their private plane. No joke)
      Step 5 – pause for a self serving photo opportunity with a war criminal or some other controversial politician

  1. Bands that produce good music and cultivate a loyal following are doing just fine.

    The corporate music industry is doing less well because it’s trying to fleece customers and flog a shoddy product.

    Th real music industry doesn’t need saving and it’s best to let the corporate dinosaur slowly die. Shove that in your autotune.

    1. The real money for artists has always been in the live performances. Only the fat cats at the record companies ever made money from album sales.

      The best way to support an artist is to see them live.

      1. What your idiotically simplistic replies don’t take into account is that there are many reasons why not all musicians *can* perform live, and there’s plenty of music that can’t be performed live. That’s more the case for the more creative and interesting stuff near the fringes rather than for the same-old same-old pop music. Why the hell should ANY musicians bother to record music now, especially if they simply can’t perform live?

  2. Just as Apple Pay will revolutionize credit cards utilization (witness the banks and credit card companies falling all over themselves to get aboard), Apple with its technology will break the cable company cartels, music company and content company self-interests as the digital revolution enters the next phase of evolution.
    I have had three banks already solicit my credit cards for inclusion in Apple Pay….. this is going to be gigantic going forward in its scope and breath…. Apple has a plan and the money and management to make things happen…. the future is bright for AAPL.

    1. If you want it in the new format, then yes. I see no problem with that. Otherwise, continue listening in its current format.

      Apple is not about to dump AAC anytime in the near or even far future. MP3 was released upon the world in the early 90’s and it is still supported by iTunes 20 years later. There’s no reason to remove an old codec just because a new format comes along.

      1. If it weren’t for iTunes’ and iPod’s support of MP3, both would have flopped completely.

        Recall that prior to the introduction of the iPod, record companies insisted on forcing DRM for any digital music sales. Sony had the audacity to sell digital music players that only played proprietary, DRM-locked content, and in the case of mini-disc recorders, actually ADDED DRM to anything the user recorded on the devices. What a shock that they failed.

        The music industry will never again convince people to pay for overpriced music albums containing only 1-2 good songs and wrapped in DRM that prevents convenient access across different devices.

    2. Don’t forget… a new COPY-PROTECTED format. This, after all the hard work by Steve Jobs to convince music studios to allow sales singles instead of albums, at reasonable prices, and WITHOUT DRM.

      1. If the ‘new format’ is merely more of the old DRM imposing, customer hating, babysitting, ‘We Don’t Trust You’ garbage, expect it to INSPIRE piracy.

        I’ve made this clear for years. But ‘the music industry’ doesn’t give a rat’s about their customers. ‘The music industry’ is only there to stamp out UNITS and feed the CONSUMERS with PRODUCT. To hell with that bad attitude. Make music an ART again and treat your customers as PARTNERS in your business venture, because that’s what we all ARE.

        1. Don’t forget, Derek, that although the music industry doesn’t give a rat’s about their customers and they’re absolute crooks with their musicians, most “fans” are worse than that – they pay 0%.

        2. No one is a ‘fan’ if they pirate an artist’s music. They’re a parasite. I entirely agree. But I continue to point out that a specific cause of piracy is abuse from brain-dead, Luddite, self-destructive, customer hating companies. Retribution against their anti-customer behavior is entirely inevitable. Musicians end up becoming massive losers specifically because of their worthless music companies.

  3. Wow- I’m surprised at the haters…seems like a new model can be a win for bands and listeners. The only people who should be pissed are the old model middle-men. Wake up record companies…you are not needed- an artist can create and thrive without you…

  4. Discovery is the key to improving music sales. For too long labels have been sponsoring radio stations to focus only on select songs.
    I remember about five years ago I saw Kings of Leon on a live concert shown by PBS. It was a total fluke that I switched to the channel but I liked the music enough to go a download an album then and there.
    About 6 months later we were listening to radio at work. I often can’t listen to radio that much because they keep playing the same songs. After a couple of days I had enough and turned it off. But not until I heard a DJ pondering why Kings of Leon had suddenly become popular. The silly bitch couldn’t figure out it was because they were playing their latest single six times in the day.
    What I like about iTunes Radio and Pandora is that you can hear new music. The variety is better than on the radio and hopefully less biased. Still needs working on but it increases the chance of people spontaneously buying a song they like and maybe later on getting the album.
    If Apple & U2 can get more artists exposed to the public then maybe they can improve sales. I will wait and see what the new format that U2 are talking about is like but I am not particularly interested in paying more for content.

  5. This idea might carry more weight if it were being promoted by a band more relevant and less blatantly self serving in 2014 than U2. How far they have strayed from their roots.

    I struggle to imagine a new format so wonderful that it would persuade me to pay for the latest U2 album wrapped in a copy-protected shell. Bono is delusional.

    Incidentally, interesting use of Cole Porter as an example, considering he was the grandson of the richest man in Indiana.

  6. If the “new format” is a just something with a higher bit-rate or less lossy compression, then it isn’t going to “save” sh*t. The only ones who care about that are audiophiles, and there simply aren’t enough of them to rescue the music industry by themselves. This new format would have to have mainstream appeal.


  7. From my POV, there are two main problems:

    1) ‘The music industry’ as customer hating, DRM imposing, rootkit infecting (Sony), Luddites who despise the 21st century and refuse to catch up with modern technology and the legitimate demands of their customers for top sound quality audio files…. IOW: ‘The music industry’ as its own worst enemy, inspiring their ticked off customers to reply with the retribution known as pirating.

    2) ‘The music industry’ as the opposite of The Music Art. When the art, adventure, purpose, service, joy, exploration, modernization of music is squashed into bland, industrial, formula, lowest common denominator mush, the ART is DEAD. Of course no one wants to buy it.

    ME: I search out new music that I find interesting and inspiring and I BUY IT.

    It takes a hell-of-an effort to find this music, due to the imposition of ‘the music industry’ into our lives, but I find it nonetheless. I know what I like and I don’t buy crap. So don’t feed me your ‘the music industry’ crap please. Feed me the music ART instead. That’s a free clue for you all.

    1. NPR and local college radio stations, if available in your area (or if you can get away with streaming at work) are good alternatives. Online, at home, there are near-limitless choices for small stations in certain cities and towns that specialize in other than Top-40, such as KJAZZ in Los Angeles, or WWOZ (90.7 FM New Orleans) that champion lesser-known artists

      1. Where I live, there literally is no modern music. I end up listening to the wonderful choice of three NPR stations available. When I travel to help out my aging parents, I LOVE the point where I can pick up their county’s radio education station that is 100% modern music, excellent stuff. I became friends with they guy who started the station back in the early 1980s. His wise taste lives on in what they play. Tons of fun!

  8. I make it a point to “Support Your Local Artists”. In Los Angeles, for example, there are opportunities to hear live music throughout the year. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve heard of them or not. If I like what I hear, I’ll buy their CD (typically between $10-$20 a CD at the concert, or I’ll log in to iTunes). So far, only one artist I’ve seen this year has offered a digital download card at their concerts – The Dustbowl Revival. Hope this becomes a trend.

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