Bono hits at 'haters' of iTunes album launch

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By Niall Murray, Irish Examiner

U2 lead singer Bono has labelled as "haters" the people who criticised the band online for the way their first album in five years was given away for free.

Songs of Innocence was gifted to an estimated 500m users of Apple's iTunes in a reported $100m (€78m) deal that coincided with the launch of the technology giant's latest devices almost a fortnight ago.

In a world exclusive, pre-recorded interview with RTÉ 2FM's Dave Fanning, the first DJ to play the album in full when it was released earlier this month, Bono said there has been some "real deliberate misunderstanding" of their relationship with Apple.

"This is a company which has, more than any other technological company, sought to get musicians paid," said Bono.

"There's lots of other technology companies who've become very rich on musicians not getting paid. So it's a perfect relationship to work with them."

Apple's delivery of a free copy of Songs of Innocence to every iTunes user -- through their iPhones, computers, and other devices -- has generated as much publicity as the album's content. However, much of it was critical, with some joking or complainging on social media sites about having the music imposed on them, while others were cynical about the commercial aspects.

"The same people who used to write on walls are in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is enough to put you off democracy," Bono laughed

"No... let people have their say. They're the haters; we're the lovers. We're never going to agree. People who would not normally be exposed to our music have got a chance to listen to it. Whether they hold that to their heart or not, we don't know."

Whatever about the impact on sales revenue, the release method could boost U2's potential for ticket sales when they tour the album. Live performance is a crucial factor in a music world where gigs have replaced counter -- or download -- sales for generating income.

"Whether those songs will be important to them, in a week's time we don't know. But they've got a chance and that's gotta be exciting for a band who've been around as long as we have," Bono said.

"The hardest thing in the world, as Bruce Springsteen said to me -- and this was 10 years ago -- is to surprise your audience or to surprise yourself."

Bono spoke to Fanning in a two-hour track-by-track discussion aired yesterday morning about the album -- their first since 2009's No Line on the Horizon -- that includes 'Iris', written about his late mother.

"We were always the band to divide people, not to unite people," said Bono. "That's it. To sing, 'In the name of love/what more in the name of love' -- it was as uncool in 1984 as it is now and that's why people came through the doors.

"To sing about your faith: How uncool is that in rock 'n' roll? To sing about your mother? come on, shut up! Except John Lennon did it, Kurt Cobain did it, Eminem has done it. What is the point in being in U2 if you can't go to those other places?"

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on September 22, 2014 4:23 AM.

U2: When Art Becomes the Ad (Guest Column) was the previous entry in this blog.

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