Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who raised questions about Apple’s free download of U2’s latest album, Songs of Innocence, onto all iPhones.
Apple didn’t ask permission and clearly circumvented privacy concerns. So, complaints and criticisms started to appear on social media almost as soon as the album downloaded. The big question: was this a brilliant promotional tactic or just plain spam?
Apple product users supplied the answer, pushing back at both U2 and Apple for intruding their privacy.
After a month of mulling it over, U2 frontman Bono humbly issued an October 14 apology as part of a Facebook interview (the apology begins at 2:19 on the video). Apple even issued a free “official tool” that lets iPhone users remove the U2 “gift.”
Our hunch is that many who criticized the free download will actually keep the album. Their outcry was never about stopping the music or rebuffing the artists.
It was about crossing a line by placing something into password-protected, private accounts without permission. It was about the transparent strategy of sending a “free gift” that was really a Trojan horse designed to produce bragging rights for having the largest album release of all time, get a buzz going about the music, and generate additional sales.
It was really all about spam.