Bono finally apologises for forcing everyone to have U2’s album back in 2014
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In his new memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, the Irish singer reflected on the 2014 controversy when the band’s then-new album popped up on everyone’s iTunes without permission, as per NME.
While gifting Songs of Innocence was intended as a gift to consumers, there was major backlash, with The Washington Post even likening the move to ‘Rock n Roll dystopian junkmail’.
In his book, the musician recalls how he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who had just taken over from the late Steve Jobs, and had an idea for the album to be available to iTunes customers at no cost.
However, Bono notes the tech CEO wasn’t initially sold on the idea.
Cook said, according to an excerpt shared with The Guardian: “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.”
The singer replied: “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?
"I think we should give it away to everybody.
"I mean, it’s their choice whether they want to listen to it.’”
But, the 62-year-old writes that the album release didn’t go as planned, as many weren’t too pleased with the giveaway.
He wrote in his memoir: “On 9 September 2014, we didn’t just put our bottle of milk at the door but in every fridge in every house in town.
"In some cases we poured it on to the good people’s cornflakes. And some people like to pour their own milk. And others are lactose intolerant.”
The singer added that his other bandmates had nothing to do with the marketing ploy, and he takes ‘full responsibility’.
The musician initially thought the backlash was a mere ‘internet squall’, but he soon realised it became a bigger conversation about technology and privacy concerns.
He writes: “We were Santa Claus and we’d knocked a few bricks out as we went down the chimney with our bag of songs.
"But quite quickly we realised we’d bumped into a serious discussion about the access of big tech to our lives.”
It’s safe to say Bono's memoir won’t be spamming Audible as part of its release anytime soon.
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