What U2 Taught Us About Today’s Music Industry

U2 Songs of InnocenceTwo weeks ago U2 and Apple did something that upset a lot of people. If you did not hear about this I’ll give you a refresher.

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 broughtU2 Concert 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?

One Comment

  • You are absolutely 110 percent correct in that the music industry has/is forever changed! I actually am and have been a hardcore U2 fan for 30 plus years and they have always had phenomenal talent and capacity to remain relevant while remaining just far enough out of the box of creativity to remain fresh and relevant to reach sustain a music/band icon force across multiple generations and cultures! They too have understood the times and understood to survive would need to lean forward strategizing to adjust for the rapidly changing digital marketing and distribution age! They are business savvy and smart to the times we live!


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