On September 9th, 500 million Apple users were given U2‘s newest album, Songs of Innocence, without prior knowledge. Apple described the surprise as “A big moment in music history”—and it certainly was, for many unpredicted reasons.
The big thing they’re pointing out is that 500 million people now have a copy of an album in their library, making Songs of Innocence the “most-owned album in history.” To them, this is ground-breaking, but to me (writing this article)—not so much. No offense to Apple, but these aren’t people who willingly went out thinking “Hey, I would love to get a copy of this album!” Some of them might have bought it anyway on its official release date, October 13th. But as the days go by, more and more people are not just wondering how to purge the album from their library, but they’re literally wondering, “Who is U2?”
Who is U2?
To me, that’s hilarious. Kind of like the musically oblivious 8th grader meme. Of course I know who U2 is, even though I’ve never sought out their music myself. How could you not know? But again, like the musically oblivious 8th grader, there are Apple users as young as 13 years old who honestly have no clue why this album is now in their library.
Some of the most entertaining reactions to the free album have been listed here, on the very funny, whoisu2.com. Case and point: “Okayyyy so who is U2 and how did they hack the iTunes system ????” – @EgyptianArabic_
(Fyi, U2 did not hack iTunes, even though that would have been epic. Apple paid the band an unspecified amount and paired the release with a marketing campaign worth up to $100 million.)
Almost immediately, people complained about difficulties deleting the album from their different devices. To best handle this, Apple eventually created a “one-click removal” button for the U2 album, found at itunes.com/soi-remove. “Once the album has been removed from your account,” Apple warns, “it will no longer be available for you to redownload as a previous purchase.” Darn, you guys.
Hey, I like U2!
Yeah, they’re not bad. U2 is actually our most popular artist on Murfie, based on the number of albums owned by members. So for those of you who like U2, congrats on the free music—I bet the wave of reactions is still equally entertaining to you as it is to me. I wonder if Apple genuinely thought everyone would like this album.
U2 actually has a bunch of albums that soared in popularity, without any free gifting involved. Examples:
Not to beat a dead horse, but true Murfie fans should have noticed another flaw in Apple’s “big moment in music history” statement. Having access to U2’s album in your library does not mean you own the album. Having a physical CD or LP is what technically translates as truly owning it. Owning the physical CD or LP legally gives you rights to sell, trade, and even pass on the album to the next generation when you’re gone. So if you dig U2 and want the perks and peace of mind of owning their stuff, plus lossless quality downloads and streaming, you know where to get Songs of Innocence on October 13th. ;)
Check out Clickhole’s 8 Most Innovative Ways Artists Have Released Albums.
Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.