Until October 13th, U2 is offering their new album “Songs of Innocence” on iTunes for free. And apparently, less than 7% of the 500 million iTunes account holders have even listened to it. What a shocker. Offering a U2 album for free is like getting naked and shouting “Hey ladies: Who wants some bad free sex?”
I mean, don’t get me wrong: U2 was once – and still has the potential to be – an amazing band. Achtung Baby changed my life. That album was incredible. Everything from War in ‘83 up until 1997’s Pop was, in my opinion, awesome. But boy, has it been downhill from there. Don’t even get me started on Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. (More like…Turn It Off, amiright? ….Nailed it.)
So U2, which used to push the boundaries with deep, powerful lyrics, and dark, moody, sonic landscapes, puts out this very not good record. Easily their worst, in fact. And as a publicity stunt to “get it out to as many people as possible,” they make the album available to everyone for free.
Well, I guess no one ever told them that merely giving something away makes it undesirable. You can’t just offer something easily attainable, and expect people to want it. Especially when that easily attainable thing is…not good. Only Kim Kardashian can do that.
Let’s not forget that Apple masterminded this whole thing, and supposedly paid $100 million to U2 for their “gift” to iTunes. If Steve Jobs were alive he’d be like, “Are you kidding me? The MP3 is DEAD! Music now is all about the Cloud, streaming…THE CLOUD!” I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first suggestion was to release the album on cassette tape.
But, all of the public backlash has fallen on U2 because they are the artists who made the music. Even Sharon Osbourne is getting in on the beatings. On Twitter, she ripped on U2 for deserting their careers as musicians, and becoming “business moguls” who have to “give [their] mediocre music away for free ‘cause no one wants to buy it.”
Well, that may be true, Sharon, wife-of-a-former musician-now-stuffed-animal. But the fact of the matter is that U2 is undeniably brilliant. Because this band got everyone on Twitter, and Facebook, and Reddit, and every blog in the universe to talk about how bad they are. And while half of the people talking weren’t even sperm when The Joshua Tree came out…now they know U2.
The truth is, no press is bad press. Sure, U2 is going for more of the Rob Ford / Ray Rice / Jeffrey Dahmer type of fame…but hey, they’re relevant again! And Sharon, you of all people can’t hate on bands or musicians who go for the occasional “publicity stunt” to cut through all of the noise – even if their music actually is a really, truly, tremendous pile of crap.