Apple thought they were doing customers a favor when they sent the new U2 album ‘Songs of Innocence’ to iOS users, whether they wanted it or not, following their blockbuster special event earlier this month. However, the move caused an immediate backlash, with many decrying Apple’s decision to force the music upon all users without giving them any choice in the matter.
Seeking to avoid bad press for the other products that they had launched at the event, and the band, Apple swiftly released a tool to allow users to permanently remove the album from their iTunes account. Given that Apple have a longstanding relationship with the Irish band, who played a central role in the early marketing of the iPod, it seems that this was the best decision that they could have made to ensure that criticism of the move didn’t carry over to the group’s first release in five years.
However, as much as Apple attempted to right the wrongs of their unwanted gift, that wasn’t enough to stop discussion of their flub on social media. Twitter users sprang into action to make their voices heard, and while U2 certainly seem to have some fans on the service, the vast majority seemed to be rather annoyed at having to go out of their way to get rid of something that they never wanted in the first place.
How much do you have to hate your customer base to give them U2 albums? What an awful thing to do to someone.
— Rob (@retroremakes) September 9, 2014
Learning from my Twitter feed that U2 are somehow involved in the new iPhone launch. AS IF ANYTHING COULD MAKE ME HATE APPLE MORE
— Jim Smallman (@jimsmallman) September 9, 2014
I hate U2
— Bradley Soileau (@brvdleysoileau) September 12, 2014
Who would have thought that a free album could elicit such venom? Well, it seems that the perceived invasion of privacy that comes from files turning up on your personal device has something to do with it.
I hate U2 now they have invited themselves into my iPhone.
— tyla brown (@ohtylaa) September 14, 2014
However, soon most of the tweets related to the event began to centre around where the band — Bono in particular — was going to insert himself next. This came as a welcome break from the early flood of ‘pro bono’ gags that seemed to take over Twitter almost entirely for a brief moment.
Apple just put a bunch of Bono's bathroom selfies over my wedding photos.
— Gail Simone (@GailSimone) September 16, 2014
Somehow Bono got automatically put on my fantasy team.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) September 14, 2014
I'm gonna break into Bono's house and put my mixtape on his iPod
— lawblob (@lawblob) September 15, 2014
There were some steadfast U2 fans out there who seemed genuinely pleased to find a free new album on their device — but it seemed like it was mostly people’s dads.
My dad is probably one of the only people mildly happy that he got a U2 album for free
— armin (@arminsafari_) September 14, 2014
One of my students on new mandatory U2 record: "I thought my dad had accidentally downloaded it on my iTunes."
— emily (@24kgoldsher) September 12, 2014
I think 99% of apple users hate the fact they have a free u2 album and then theres my dad who was close to tears of joy
— grace (@woopniam) September 14, 2014
Hey according to my dad you can get the new U2 album for free on iTunes, thanks for the hot tip dad
— Jaya Saxena (@jayasax) September 12, 2014
Love it or loathe it, now you can either listen to your fresh U2 album or have it stricken from your device forever. That being said, you’ll never really be free from Bono as long as you’re using an Apple device to listen to your music.
— IndyTech (@IndyTech) September 16, 2014