That Time Apple Gave Away A Free U2 Album....

So I read this morning on CultofMac that it was September 15 2014, exactly five years ago yesterday, that Apple provided a way for users to completely wipe the U2 Album “Songs Of Innocence” off iPhone users accounts. This came days after one of the oddest PR disasters in recent history.

What had happened was just days prior, Apple had held one of their special Keynote events in which the rock band U2 was a guest. At the end of the Keynote, Tim Cook announced that U2’s latest Album, “Songs Of Innocence” was being given away for free to all iPhone users. Almost immediately after the event, Millions of iPhone users discovered that the album had been attached to their iTunes accounts, much to their anger.


The backlash was so immediate and so severe, that just a few days later, on 15 September 2014, Apple released a now defunct webpage with instructions on how to wipe the U2 album from their accounts.

Some time later U2 frontman Bono made the statement that the debacle was based on based on “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 might not be heard.”

The folks at Apple were baffled, to say the least, at the backlash. From their perspective, it only gave out a free album. The company certainly did not expect the kind of response it received.

As with generally most internet outrages, the whole thing blew over before long, but Apple has been careful not to repeat any similar PR disasters.

From my individual perspective, I thought I’d write about this here because I distinctly remember that whole debacle, and I remembered that I was one of, I guess very few people, who actually enjoyed the U2 album, and was reminded to look it up in my library and give it a listen this morning. I was personally a bit perplexed over why everyone seemed so upset over the whole ordeal. If you didn’t want the album, you could simply delete it from your library, but I guess that wasn’t enough for many people.

Chalk everything up to lessons learned I guess. I’ll finish this reminiscence up by mentioning that, as I’m writing this, I’ve got The Miracle Of Joey Ramone quietly going in the background to get my day started.