U2 placed it’s new album Songs of Innocence on 500 Million Apple iCloud accounts. By doing this all of the accounts had the ability to download the album completely free onto their devices.
Say what you will about U2 or Apple, but this has clearly made a statement about the state of today’s music industry.
Musicians, Labels and Record Companies used to send groups on tour to promote albums. That’s how touring started. Shows promoted releases, releases sold and made everyone money. Now since the digital age has made distribution all but extinct, artists release albums to sell concert tickets. Why else would they be so expensive?
This marketing stunt, and that’s what it is, put the music at the fingertips of 500 million people for free. Does U2 need the meager download money? No. Does U2 still want to sell out arena’s? Yes. This was the ultimate sign that the industry has taken the importance off of albums and put it on performance.
Think of it this way. Many people hate U2, they complained that it was an invasion of privacy and unacceptable. If the movie Sex Tape and the latest Celeb photo hackings taught us one thing it’s that nothing is safe on the cloud. But it also doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Apple, and they can do whatever they want with it. But I digress.
Then there are people like me, I don’t dislike U2, but I’m not a huge fan. What did the stunt accomplish? Well it was free advertising. It brought U2 back into my lexicon and I do like some of the songs. Would I have bought the album? Nope. But now that I have it, I may want to see them live!
They literally took the paid distribution out of selling out concerts. They skipped the middle man! They said, “If giving you our music sells tickets to shows, then here you go!”
We all know the industry has shifted, but does this move create similar tactics from other artists? Time will tell, but I have a gut feeling we may be getting Taylor Swift’s new album for free, soon.
What did you think about getting the Free U2 Album? Did you like it or were you upset?