Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Some Thoughts About This U2 LP Business & Creating The Digital Trash Market
Some basic thoughts about this U2 album business, which we tweeted earlier, but thought it was worth expanding a little.
Here at Breaking More Waves we’re fans of U2. The greatest and most life affirming gig we ever went to was a U2 show. We know it’s not cool to like U2, it’s never been cool to like U2, but you can’t take the fact from us that we like them, no matter how wrong you might think we are.
It therefore follows that we were actually pleased to receive a brand new free U2 album (which whilst not being their best – it’s no Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, it certainly isn’t a duffer like the unmemorable No Line On The Horizon was either).
There’s some worrying stuff going on here.
Let’s look at that statement from Apple and U2.
They have said that they have an ongoing partnership to ‘transform the way music is listened to and viewed’
So what does that mean?
It appears that Apple are moving towards a model of giving people free albums either by automatic downloads or them being ready to download via iCloud, irrespective of if the user wants them or not. There’s no opt out clause here. Apple aren’t the first media company providing an online service that has decided that customer choice is not an option. Facebook are already doing it and it seems sadly that Twitter is beginning to go that way as well with the likes of promoted tweets, meaning that users are unable to curate their own content.
So what’s next?
In the future will iTunes bombard us with free albums we don’t want? It seems like a distinct possibility.
Then, will Apple offer a ‘no digital trash’ service at a premium price? Essentially if this happened we’d be paying more to get less.
After all albums by big artists these days are nothing more than adverts for other bigger income generating products such as tours. So why not just treat the album like an advert and if you don’t want to hear that advert you have to pay to not hear it. It is after all what Spotify already does.
This is the problem. We’ve all come to expect everything for nothing and live in a world of information and consumer overload. In the future will we actually have to pay to get less?
Is that idea a bit odd and just a bit scary? It would be like someone throwing their rubbish into your garden and then asking you to paying to stop them doing it. Is that idea just round the corner? Maybe it will never happen, but the signs are there that it could.
Oh, and for the record 5 of our favourite U2 songs are Numb, The Fly, A Day Without Me, Where The Streets Have No Name and Bad.
U2 - The Fly