Bono takes responsibility for 2014 iTunes U2 album disaster
U2 frontman Bono was responsible for the ill-fated 2014 iTunes album giveaway, an excerpt from his memoir reveals, but as Apple took the heat for the effort, the CEO Tim Cook apparently wasn’t fazed at all by the answer.
Apple’s gift of a free copy from U2’s “Songs of Innocence” album was seen as a huge mistake for the music sales service, with complaints from many people prompting Apple to offer instructions to remove the album from users’ libraries.
In extracts from Bono’s Memoirs “Surrender: 40 songs, one story” Posted in The Guardianthe rock frontman recounts meetings between the band and Apple executives in 2014. During the meeting, Bono spoke with manager Guy Oseary, Swirl tail, Phil Schillerand Tim Cook, with Bono’s table-side gift suggestion.
“You want to give this music away for free? But the goal of what we’re trying to do at Apple isn’t to give music away for free. The goal is to make sure musicians get paid,” it said. said to Bono.
Bono instead insisted that Apple pay U2, but then give it away as a gift. “Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” he added. When Cook pressed, Bono compared it to how “Netflix buys the movie and gives it to subscribers.”
“But we’re not a subscription organization,” Cook shot back, before Bono offered, “Not yet. Let ours be first.”
Cook was apparently still skeptical of the deal and asked if it was only for those who liked U2. “I think we should give it to everyone,” Bono offered, “I mean, it’s their choice if they want to listen to it.”
Upon receiving the album, Bono states that he takes full responsibility. “Not Guy O, not Edge, not Adam, not Larry, not Tim Cook, not Eddy Cue.” Bono believed that if the music was available for listening, people “could choose to reach out to it”.
Bono has previously apologized for the incident, which saw automatic downloads of the album to millions of users, in the weeks that followed.
“At first I thought it was just an internet storm. We were Santa Claus and we had knocked down a few bricks on our way down the chimney with our bag of songs,” he says. “But pretty quickly we realized we had stumbled upon a serious discussion about big tech accessing our lives.”
Bono takes a moment to praise Cook for his actions afterward. “You convinced us to do an experiment,” the CEO told the rockstar. “We ran with it. It may not have worked, but we have to experiment, because the music industry in its current form doesn’t work for everyone.”
Bono then points to Cook’s “probably instinctively conservative” leadership style, and that even if he wanted to try to solve a problem, he was always ready to take responsibility.
The excerpt also discusses another Apple CEO interaction ten years prior, with Bono and Edge visiting. Steve Jobs with Jimmy Iovine in tow. Although U2 did not do any commercials, it has been proposed that the band fit well with Apple’s advertising style at the time.
For compensation, Jobs didn’t think Apple had the budget such a group would expect. Bono countered by saying they just wanted to be in the ad, but when the group wasn’t looking for money, they suggested a “token amount” of Apple stock, though Jobs called it a “dealbreaker.” “.
As an alternative, an iPod U2 customized in black and red was suggested, though Jobs insisted “You wouldn’t want a black one. I can show you what it would look like, but you won’t like it.”
Later, after the group had seen the first version and found it favorable, design chief Jony Ive was asked to review the design of the device a second time. Eventually, the special edition iPod in red and black was released.