U2’s Bono says he’s sorry for Apple automatically downloading his band’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence to every iTunes user’s account.
In an excerpt from his memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story published by The Guardian, the man with no last name says that his “vaunting ambition” was why he approached Apple CEO Tim Cook with the idea.
During a meeting with Cook, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, and Phil Schiller, current Fellow at Apple and former head of the App Store, Bono explained the Cupertino, California tech giant should pay U2 for the album and then “give it away free, as a gift to people.”
“Wouldn’t that be wonderful?,” the Vertigo singer said. Cook, however, wasn’t convinced and explained that he didn’t feel right about giving away the band’s “art” for free. Regardless, the deal eventually happened, prompting the album to appear on everyone’s iPhone like a rampant virus.
“I take full responsibility. Not Guy O, not Edge, not Adam, not Larry, not Tim Cook, not Eddy Cue. I’d thought if we could just put our music within reach of people, they might choose to reach out toward it. Not quite,” writes Bono in an excerpt from the memoir.
Thanks, Bono, what a wonderful gift. At least we now know how one of the strangest big tech moves of the mid-2010s happened.
Back in 2014, I remember spending the better part of an hour trying to find a way to remove Songs of Innocence from my iTunes library. While I eventually was able to ditch the album, the process was far more complicated than it needed to be.
On the bright side, it doesn’t seem like U2 will appear on your iPhone for free again when the band’s next album drops.