Whether you like it or not, you’re getting U2’s new album if you have an iPhone.
KresLynn Knouse | Features Editor | @kreslynn
Following the premiere of the Apple Watch and the latest iPhone upgrades last week, more than 500 million iTunes users were bestowed with the gift of U2’s latest album Songs of Innocence.
It was hailed by Apple as the “largest album release ever,” which is a remarkable statement, considering the company tactfully added the album to millions of iTunes accounts without the users’ consent.
I found U2 and Apple’s “gift” in my library shortly after the announcement and to my frustration, there was no way to remove it from my iPhone without connecting it to a computer and deleting the album altogether.
Fortunately, Apple responded to the outcry of users who wanted to cure themselves of this marketing plague by releasing a tool that will delete the album in one step.
My major concern has nothing to do with the annoying process of removing the album. What bothers me the most is that this was obviously a promotional stunt that should raise concerns about the sanctity of music libraries. According to the New York Times, Apple paid U2 more than $100 million to share their gift of imposition.
For users like me that couldn’t care less about U2, not only was this a major inconvenience but also yet another invasion of privacy in this decade. I consider my music collection as something that has more value to me because I’ve chosen the songs and added them personally.
By adding music I didn’t consent to (unless it was in the latest unreadable iTunes agreement), Apple takes away the sentimental value of owning a personalized library. The album may have been free, but that doesn’t mean it has value to me.
Sharon Osbourne gained further notoriety for her Twitter rant on the issue, where she called out U2 on their album release and questioned their motives. In a series of tweets, she tells U2 they’re business moguls, not artists, and they have to give their music away because no one wants to buy it.
She later explained that her rant was because she feels U2 was setting the precedent that music is something disposable, that it cannot be owned and should be given away for free. Though she did point out in another one of her tweets about the release, “Guys nothing is for free, how much are you making? PS, btw you are a bunch of middle age political groupies…”
This may have been the largest album release ever, but without giving iTunes listeners a chance to download it for themselves, that isn’t worth much. Apple deemed U2’s latest album release as a big part of music history and forced us to agree, without considering if we wanted to be a part of it.