Bono said he takes full responsibility for the 2014 marketing disaster that saw U2’s latest album automatically downloaded to the devices of 500 million iTunes users.
In September 2014, copies of the U2 album Songs of Innocence have been given away for free to millions of iTunes account holders around the world, causing a significant backlash.
Frontman Bono apologized at that moment, saying, “I had this great idea and we got carried away by ourselves.”
In an excerpt from his next memoir Yield: 40 songs, a Bono story Posted in The GuardianBono wrote about the band’s longstanding relationship with Apple.
It stems from the group meeting with Steve Jobs in 2004, when the co-founder of Apple refused to pay them in Apple stock for their music to be used in an iPod commercial.
10 years later, Bono went to CEO Tim Cook with the idea of giving away their new album Songs of Innocence.
“‘Do you want to give this music away for free?'” Bono recalled Cook’s response. “’But the whole point of what we’re trying to do at Apple is not to give away free music. The point is to make sure the musicians get paid. ‘
“’No,’” I said, “’I don’t think we’re giving it away for free. I think you pay us for it, and then give it away for free, as a gift to people. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? … I think we should give it away to everyone. I mean, it’s their choice if they want to hear it. ‘”
Bono wrote: “See what just happened? You could call it the pride of ambition. Or vault. Critics may accuse me of overreach. IS.
“What was the worst thing that could have happened? It would be like junk mail. It is not true? Like taking our bottle of milk and leaving it on the doorstep of every house in the neighborhood. Not. Rather. True.”
He continued: “On September 9, 2014, we didn’t just put our bottle of milk at the door, but in every refrigerator in every house in the city. In some cases we would pour it on the cornflakes of good people. And some people like to pour their own milk. And others are lactose intolerant ”.
Bono stressed that he was solely responsible for the marketing move: “not Guy O, not Edge, not Adam, not Larry, not Tim Cook, not Eddy Cue”.
“At first I thought it was just an internet storm. We were Santa Claus and we had knocked down a few bricks as we came down the chimney with our sack of songs, “she wrote.
“But quite quickly we realized that we had run into a serious discussion about the access of great technology to our lives. The part of me that will always be punk rock thought this was exactly what the Clash would do. Subversive. But it’s hard to claim subversive when you work with a company that’s about to become the largest on Earth.
“We had learned a lesson, but for a while we will have to be careful where we step on. It wasn’t just a banana peel. It was a mine ”.