Sunday, September 14, 2014

You too!

Practically every netizen is aware of the new phone launches by Apple last week, followed by a bunch of announcements about the new Apple Watch. So far so good. Apple fans went crazy and Apple’s stock went through the roof yet again. I am sure the products are amazing and everyone will live happily ever after.

In all this frenzy, one of my favourite bands of all times – U2 released a new album. It is titled “Songs of Innocence”. Apple released it for free on iTunes. U2 seems to have a multi-year commercial and philanthropic tie-up with Apple. I am pretty sure both of them have done a fair bit of good in the world through the Product Red Campaign.

Songs of Innocence

However, free is bad. Free gives the wrong perception that the thing that you just received is not valuable. From Joshua Bell (the acclaimed Violinist) playing for “free” at the DC Metro Subway to Open Source software, people have consistently assumed (and many times falsely) that free means – not good.

I am appalled, sad and disappointed that U2 did this. Of course I am happy that I got their album for free. But I am not happy about all the negative reviews and articles that they are getting.

U2 made money in the deal. But they lost a fair bit of their amazing flair and credibility. According to NY Times online, this is what I could gather:

“To release U2’s album free, Apple paid the band and Universal an unspecified fee as a blanket royalty and committed to a marketing campaign for the band worth up to $100 million, according to several people briefed on the deal.”

So, it’s not that U2 gave you the album free, but indeed Apple did it. I feel, rather than pushing the album for free into everyone’s iTunes library, Apple should have made people to do the effort to search for and download the album. That way it would have been more valuable and people who don’t know them wouldn’t have bothered.

As for non-Apple users like me, I had to go download iTunes first then download “Songs of Innocence” and then uninstall iTunes. Anyway, I am listening to the album as I am writing this. And this week is gonna be all U2 for me. To end on a happy note, here is their funny “10 things” appearance on David Letterman:

Top 10 things U2 has learned over the years

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