The U2 and Apple partnership dates back to the release of the iPod Classic 4th Generation, U2 edition, that sported a black cover with a red wheel, and the autographs of Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr, and The Edge. This was before the world had iPhones and iPads, and barely knew how to dream about the Apple Watch.
During the Apple Live event on 9th September, U2 took the stage once more to perform and share the great news – they have created an album that was years in the making, since their last album release 5 years ago. The best thing – it’s on iTunes for free.
This means that Apple is essentially giving away U2’s first album in five years for free to half a billion people, across 119 countries.
“U2 has been an important part of Apple’s history in music and we’re thrilled to make ‘Songs of Innocence’ the largest album release ever,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We get to share our love of music today by gifting this great new album to over half a billion iTunes customers around the world.”
The album giveaway will only last until October, which will definitely create great traffic on the iTunes store for Apple, who will also be launching iOS8 in a few days, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus later this month. Apple Pay, their now payments platform will only be available next month, which means that people will be able to test-buy U2’s album with Apply Pay if they didn’t get it for free. But, why wouldn’t they?
While the gesture of giving away the album for free is enough for any U2 fangirl to freak out, it was done in a very awkward manner and ended the whole event on a strange tone. The conversation between Tim Cook and Bono about the release was strongly rehearsed, and went back and forth so much that the audience quickly came down from their Apple Watch high to watch the two men natter on about the release.
I’m all for Apple collaborating with U2. In fact, it makes total sense because of their history of collaboration. Apple has always been strong about their affiliation to the music industry, especially since the iTunes Festival is currently underway, and Beats Music and Beats Electronics a welcomed member of the Apple family, and it made sense to one day do a collaboration of this sort. Perhaps it could have been done in a less awkward manner, or at least related to any of the releases, like having to be received with Apple Pay or being included in your iTunes when you purchase the iPhone 6.