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Bono issues apology for U2's iTunes album fiasco
Featured Image Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Sipa US/Alamy

Bono issues apology for U2's iTunes album fiasco

The U2 frontman says his lightbulb moment didn't go down quite as well as he'd hoped

Bono has apologised for Apple automatically downloading U2's album Songs Of Innocence onto people's iTunes accounts.

In his new memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, the singer opens up about the decision to give the 2014 record out for free to Apple customers.

You can refresh your memory with the bizarre album announcement below:

In an excerpt from the book, which was published in The Guardian, Bono recalled how he came up with the idea and approached Apple boss Tim Cook about it during a meeting at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The Irish rockstar recalls Cook asking: "'Are you talking about free music? You want to give this music away free? But the whole point of what we’re trying to do at Apple is to not give away music free. The point is to make sure musicians get paid'.

"'No,' I said, 'I don’t think we give it away free. I think you pay us for it and then you give it away free, as a gift to people. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?'

Elon Musk decided to give the 2014 album away for free.
Jennifer Graylock/Alamy

"Tim Cook raised an eyebrow. 'You mean we pay for the album and then just distribute it?'

"I said, ‘Yeah, like when Netflix buys the movie and gives it away to subscribers.’ Tim looked at me as if I was explaining the alphabet to an English professor.

"'But we’re not a subscription organisation'. 'Not yet,' I said. 'Let ours be the first'.

"Tim was not convinced. 'There’s something not right about giving your art away for free,' he said. ‘'And this is just to people who like U2?'

"'Well,' I replied, 'I think we should give it away to everybody. It’s their choice whether they want to listen to it'."

Like many out there, if you're a longtime Apple customer, you will no doubt remember the first time said album came blasting out your speakers.

Bono's idea didn't go down as well as he'd hoped with Apple customers.
Konstantin Savusia/Alamy

And not everyone was so appreciative of Bono's lightbulb moment.

"As one social media wisecracker put it, 'Woke up this morning to find Bono in my kitchen, drinking my coffee, wearing my dressing gown, reading my paper'. Or, less kind, 'The free U2 album is overpriced'. Mea Culpa," Bono says of the reaction at the time.

"If just getting our music to people who like our music was the idea, that was a good idea. But if the idea was getting our music to people who might not have had a remote interest in our music, maybe there might be some pushback.

"At first I thought this was just an internet squall, but quickly realised we’d bumped into a serious discussion about big tech."

He adds: "I take full responsibility. Not Guy O, not Edge, not Adam, not Larry, not Tim Cook, not Eddy Cue.

"I’d thought if we could just put our music within reach of people, they might choose to reach out toward it. Not quite."

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Topics: Apple, iPhone, Technology, Music, Entertainment