When it comes to the crunch, have they bitten off more than they can chew?
U2 surprised a lot of people last week when they announced that they had come to an arrangement with Apple to give a free copy of their new album, ‘Songs of Innocence’ free to every iTune user.
But not in a good way, for many. A good portion of younger iTune users had never heard of the Irish rockers and didn’t appreciate their music being foisted upon them. They complained that they wanted to choose their own music and they found this freebie more of a nuisance than anything else. Instructions on how to delete the offending download have been all over the Web since.
Word is that U2 have received $100 million for this corporate alliance and you can see in one way, why they decided to go down this road. Beyoncé shattered all download records when she released her album, ‘Beyoncé’, last December in a similar way. People did pay for hers, however. Albums just don’t sell the traditional way anymore. U2’s previous album, ‘No Line on the Horizon’ suffered from poor sales when it was released in 2009, so there was no reason to assume things would have any different for this new release if it had been put out there in the conventional manner.
But all the same, it has left a sour taste in my mouth. U2 have always been, in my book, synonymous with ultra-cool. I think a lot of us feel they have sold themselves short by selling themselves to Apple. They have always been portrayed as a band who care more about the music they produce than record sales and money in the bank and I suppose now this cynical deal makes it look like it’s all about the spondoolicks.
All in all, even though U2 have pocketed a cool 100 million, I feel they have lost some of their street cred among their core fans (sorry!). I would go as far as to say they have given more of them the pip! (couldn’t resist).