Cutting through the noise in today’s music industry is trickier than ever. Just ask U2. “Songs of Innocence,” U2’s latest album, was supposed the be the music promo slam dunk of the year.
This wasn’t going to be a free iTunes download – Apple would go a step further. The album would automatically get added to your iTunes library AND your iPhone. But anyone that’s had email knows what Spam is and if Steve Jobs were alive today he would have called it just that.
Nevermind that U2 was cozy with iTunes a decade ago. Times have changed and Jobs, who was always ahead of the curve when it came to the customer experience, would have known better.
Apple soon created a page detailing how people could easily remove the album from their iPhone and last week Bono apologized on the band’s Facebook page.
This was in response to a fan’s comment: “Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again?” one fan asked. “It’s really rude.”
“Oops … I’m sorry about that,” Bono responded. “I had this beautiful idea … might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”
This raises the ever changing world of the music industry to red alert status. Old geezers like Bono don’t understand a simple concept like SPAM. Meanwhile, BitTorrent’s Thom York promotion was pure genius, and it resulted in over one million downloads in the first week alone. They offered a video and song you could stream and play for free and then, if you liked it you had the OPTION to download the rest of the album.
The music business is changing on a daily basis and, like any art form, imitating something you did ten years ago doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be a hit today. Bono and Apple took a shot at an old school business model and it was a dud.
That’s why you can’t live in the past. That’s whey companies like Red Bull are launching record labels and streaming music. Music is no longer a product, it’s something less tangible – gone are the days of holding an album, CD or download on a device. We in a world of on-demand and don’t want anything forced down our throats.
Give Bono credit for trying – the music business is as tough a business as there is.
Watch: More On Bono’s Apology From IGN News