Music News

Bono takes “full responsibility” for the now-infamous iTunes giveaway of U2’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence.

The U2 frontman touches on the controversial moment in his new memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, which comes out on November 1. An excerpt from the book about the iTunes hoopla was recently published by The Guardian.

Bono details himself and manager Guy Oseary meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple executives Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller. The singer pitched the whole deal to Apple and said to Cook the company would just buy the album and distribute it “…like when Netflix buys the movie and gives it away to subscribers.” When Cook tells Bono Apple isn’t “a subscription organization,” he replied back to the CEO, “Not yet. Let ours be the first.”

Even if you’re not a fan of Bono, you have to give him some credit for (allegedly) seeing the future of music distribution.

RELATED: Bono on Getting Drunk with President Obama in the White House

Bono writes of the album giveaway, “It would be like junk mail. Wouldn’t it? Like taking our bottle of milk and leaving it on the doorstep of every house in the neighborhood. Not. Quite. True. 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.”

Bono adds, “I take full responsibility. Not Guy O, not Edge, not Adam, not Larry, not Tim Cook, not Eddy Cue. I’d thought if we could just put our music within reach of people, they might choose to reach out toward it. Not quite.”

The singer continues, “As one social media wisecracker put it, ‘Woke up this morning to find Bono in my kitchen, drinking my coffee, wearing my dressing gown, reading my paper’. Or, less kind, ‘The free U2 album is overpriced’. Mea culpa.”

Many may have been furious over a U2 album suddenly appearing on their Apple device, but the deal was a shrewd business move. Billboard reported in September 2014 that the album distribution was part of an overall deal with Apple that was worth $100 million. Additionally, it led to a massive spike in downloads of the entire U2 catalog with every single studio release from the band hitting the iTunes top albums chart.

U2: Their 50 Best Songs, Ranked

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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