Bono on iTunes U2 album giveaway: ‘Oops; we might have gotten a bit carried away’

“U2 caused quite a stir when they surprised iTunes fans by dropping their latest album ‘Songs of Innocence’ on them for free back on Sept. 9. Frontman Bono apologized on Tuesday via Facebook after soliciting questions from fans as part of a promotion for the album’s physical release,” Jason Hughes reports for The Wrap. “Many people, who found the album added to their iCloud playlists automatically, lashed out against Apple and the iconic rock group. The outrage was so pronounced that Apple had to develop a tool to help them remove the album from their playlists.”

“The band uploaded a video in which they answered questions from fans solicited via #U2NoFilter, with one asking them pointedly, ‘Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again? It’s really rude,'” Hughes reports. “‘Oops,’ Bono said with a small smile.”

Hughes reports, “But he went on with sincerity. ‘I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea; we might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a 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. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.'”

Read more, and see the video, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Nicolas C.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
81 million people listened to U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ Apple gave away via iTunes – October 10, 2014
U2’s Bono talks 885 million iTunes accounts, new music format, and ‘haters’ – September 22, 2014
Unsurprisingly, bypassed music retailers call Apple’s free U2 album a ‘dismal failure’ – September 16, 2014
Why the anger over iTunes’ free U2 album ‘Songs Of Innocence?’ – September 16, 2014
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. I also liked the apology. It was well delivered and I too accepted it, whatever that’s worth.

      Many here don’t seem to like dissenting views and are quick to dismiss and trivialise these kinds of concerns. Most of us Apple fans since days of yore are particular about small stuffs and Apple under Jobs resonated with us perfectly with those incredible attention to details. Anyway, I appreciated that someone who counts understood our objection and apologised appropriately.

      Thank you, U2. I may now even pay to listen to your album.

      1. You know, right there in “Settings” under “iTunes & App Store” there are two simple slider buttons. One turns off automatic downloads. The other turns off downloads using cellular data. If you don’t want to automatically download data via cellular you can simply turn these items off. It takes roughly 10 seconds and my 4 year old can do it. Those who are bellyaching about this issue should perhaps try paying attention for a few seconds, and setting their phones up to accommodate their own wishes. It actually takes more time and more effort to complain about this than it does to prevent or fix it. If your downloaded something you didn’t want, and you did it over cellular IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT, and I’m tired of listening to clueless idiots tell the world how wounded they are. Apple can’t read your mind. You need to set up your phone yourself.

        1. Blow me you condescending little prick. All that shit is off. It put it in my library and I couldn’t get it off until the tool. What if they put a book about the proper way to insert a tampon or how to behead infidels in your iBooks? They pit something on my phone without asking me. What is so fucking hard for you to understand?

        2. It takes about 10 seconds to find these instructions:

          “If you find a song in one of your iTunes playlists that you no longer want, you usually have to go all the way back to the “Music” view and find it in order to delete it. This keyboard shortcut saves you the hassle, deleting the item right from the playlist view.

          Ordinarily, pressing the delete key while in a playlist will only prompt you to remove the song from that playlist. If you want to remove it from your library entirely, just press Shift+Delete (on Windows) or Option+Delete (on OS X), and you’ll get the prompt to remove the song from your library entirely. Pretty handy for us playlist junkies.”

        3. Right, well my Mac Pro wouldn’t fit in the overhead during the six-week travel period I was on during this event, so I left it home. Apple made a removal tool for people like me, Bono apologized to people like me, and you think yours is the only way of life people live.

        4. I love how a person with an iPad as their only “computer” can’t exactly follow your “instructions”

          Remember Apple has designed the iPad (iPhone as well) to be computer free.

        5. Once again you prove that you have no clue.

          I have NEVER purchased a digital song, from anyone. My settings ARE turned off.

          I got the 130mb album pushed over cellular.

          Read the apple discussions, many people had it happen. Not everyone………………. But some did.

          You have the “it didn’t happen to me, so it didn’t happen to anyone” mentality. And you get hung up on the settings BS.

          The whole ordeal wasn’t smooth.

    1. There is a feature on iTunes on the iDevices that allows you to automatically download any purchased content (song, video, TV show, movie) onto all your devices that are tied into the same Apple ID. People who have this turned on (and it is on by default) have suddenly discovered a U2 album on their iPhones/iPads without ever buying it. This is the source of these complaints.

      1. Yep.
        And even if that was turned off…. I have never purchased digital music from iTunes, so I have that turned off.

        I had the 130mb album sent to my iPhone, over Cellular…
        *THIS* is where another complaint comes in. (And no I didn’t have the use cellular option turned on either)

        Don’t care that they gave it to me, i can simply ignore it. But for many they pushed it over cellular.. Thats not good.
        I still have unlimited data, but those on limited plans it could have been an issue.

        Those complaints.. I understand.
        Complaining that it shows up in your purchase history.. those people are just worthless.

        There was an article right after the release, they said Apple should have placed the album prominently on the front page of the store (they did), Sent email(s) telling you its free (they did), but not automatically sent it to every device.

    2. It came up on shuffle on my iPhone. I was all like, Siri, what is this song? U2!? I don’t even like them! How did they get on my iPhone? Siri, kill Bono.

      I never purposefully turned on automatic song downloads before – I manually add songs because of limited space. Yet, I’ve had to turn off automatic song downloads at least 3 times now. It must get reset after iOS updates or something like that. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s slightly annoying, and below my usual expectations of Apple.

      I admit, asking Siri to kill Bono was probably an overreaction.

    1. Boy ain’t that the truth. A little U2 goes a long way, always have. I’ve even met Bono while shooting on a film in Ireland and gave him a tour of the space sets. Nice man and I’m sure if they could live this over they’d do it “differently.”

      Certainly Apple will take heed from this lesson in the future that even “free” can be unwanted. People always have to determine their own individual yes or no first. In hindsight it seems so obvious.

      1. I was curious who had the first thought to do this?
        U2 from a self promotion, marketing point, or Apple from a generous, good PR point (or so they thought it would be, before it blew up in their face). We will probably never know.

      1. Sucks for you. Happens all the time with emails, etc, but I don’t go whining about it on the Internet, I just delete the crap.
        Although, if this had been a Kanye West or One Direction album I’d have had a real rant!

  1. Technically, the controversy is small.

    In terms of consumers, U2 and Apple pushed regardless of the consequences, until Apple stock dropped. Connect the dots. Market research ? Consumer interest ? Forget those. Didn’t Apple hire Dr Dre and the other guy for their music sense ? (What is good music and what do people like.) Or was it just the headphones.

    Then the follow up. In response to the public, Apple released a delete tool.

    And this new apology is only 5 weeks after the event.

    In terms of the music industry, it gets worse. Iggy Pop and others have explained well the effects on other musicians, plus explaining the smugness of U2 and / or Apple.

    Finally, the music. Is it merely good or outstanding ? YMMV. Taste in music change and I am not into 80’s rockers. Not for a long time.

    1. It wouldn’t have mattered *WHO* the artist was that Apple sent out… it was the *way* they did it…

      If Apple would have done this with Dr. Dre (using him as the example cause you mentioned him) cause lets say he has a new album coming out. It would have had the exact same result, Pushed the album over Cellular (for many)

      “Didn’t Apple hire Dr Dre and the other guy for their music sense ? (What is good music and what do people like.)”

      Honestly music is subjective to everyone, what Dr. Dre would say is good… i’d say is garbage.

      It wasn’t the who, it was the how that was the big issue.

        1. Apple has the free app of the week, how would you like to see everyone of them PUSHED to your iPhone over cellular? Regardless if you wanted it or not… 1mb or 1gb, pushed to your iPhone every week.

          The *who* doesn’t matter, it WAS the how.

      1. The U2 controversy is one part of Apple’s PR problem which assisted in stock drop along with global economics and the “sell the news”. The U2 part is mainly water under the bridge. The PR problem and consequences for music industry are not.

        Read more, listen, analyze more.

        Which is to say, stop talking thru your butt so fast.

        1. Ask any investment advisor about it. He’ll school you on what really matters in the stock market. A free U2 album.. I’m having a hard time wondering how you can even take yourself seriously.

          And FWIW Ive been an AAPL investor for over 15 years. So I don’t really need your lame advice.

  2. It never amazes me.
    Giving away free stuff and there are still people that want to bitch.
    Just goes to show you that some people like being angry and will bitch about everything.

    Those are the people that don’t get invited to parties and fun events. They ruin it for everyone else if they show up.

  3. Was someone bruised? Did they bleed? I’m not a U2 fan. But I got the album and I listened to it. Didn’t change my mind about U2. Deleted it. It wasn’t painful, I thought that was REALLY a cool thing to do. Obviously, some people are riled by free gifts! I applaud them for the innovation and for trying. You who thought it was bad, sorry, you are putzes not too interested in how technology can make life better. This was NOT offensive in any way.

  4. Thank you Apple for gifting me that marvelous U2 album… and thanks to U2 for letting it all happen. The album is a masterpiece. I just want you to know I am grateful for lyrics, voice and music that will end up being one of your greatest achievements. The album soars… and I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.

  5. Rude to put a free album from one of the top Rock Groups in the world in your iTunes? Do you know you can delete it? Spoiled ingrates! I bet you want everything else handed to you. If you were busy earning a living, you wouldn’t have time to bitch and complain.

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