Chill the Fuck Out: A Note to Those Upset About U2 & iTunes


In what’s not a terrible surprise, a certain faction of the half-billion or so iTunes costumers in the world are pissed off because U2 photographed by John WrightU2’s surprise new album, Songs of Innocence, was automatically gifted to their accounts last week. Talk about first world problems.

Everyone, please: Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

I get that U2 is a band that’s either loved or hated. Not many people sit in the middle of their likeability bleachers – this is not uncommon for bands with as much lineage as U2.

That said, what’s the big deal?

I understand that an individual’s taste in music is a very personal thing. We open up doors to allow certain bands/albums/songs in, all the while build barriers to keep others out. This is normal. This is acceptable behaviour. In the digital music era, this is generally easy to do.

On those grounds, I can understand why some people are pissed off – they feel as if music they don’t connect with is being forced upon them, thus compromising those once indestructible barriers. Or perhaps they’ve just never heard of U2 (apart from hearing their parents talk about them) and don’t want to start hearing them. Both cases make sense.

Regardless, why has the volume of online bitching about this been so loud? Is it really necessary?

You, me, and millions upon millions of people have received a gift from a service that we’ve loved (and likely taken for granted) for the past 13 years. Yes, this is as hardcore of a marketing ploy as can be imagined, but have we become such a ridiculous society that a gift can cause such uproar?

Haven’t we all received at least one gift a year that we didn’t love? Haven’t we all either taken it back or hidden it in the back of the closet? Unless you’re a terrible human being with a lacking moral compass, I’m sure you haven’t incessantly ranted in the SONGS-OF-INNOCENCE-U2face of the gift-giver over what you consider to be a misstep.

Yes, Apple and U2 are both multi-billion dollar corporations, thus making them not the same thing as a misguided uncle. But, what damage have they really caused you by dropping a free album upon you?

Are you concerned about your online privacy? Sorry, that ship sailed a long time ago.

Are you afraid your friends will see Songs of Innocence on your iPhone or iPad and laugh at you? If they don’t live under a rock and know your tastes, they’ll understand why it’s there.

Are you upset that U2 and Apple have gotten all up in your business without your consent? Well, at least they aren’t forcing a purchase upon you.

And let’s be straight about something here. As Consequence of Sound explains, Songs of Innocence was distributed via Apple’s iCloud, so – even though it appears within your iTunes – technically it hasn’t been downloaded to your account. It’s there, but it isn’t being stored locally on any of your devices, unless you flip the switch. To calm whatever nerves and whining out there, Apple has issued a one-button album deleting solution.

Considering all of the way more important shit happening in the world right now, do we really need to be causing such a fuss about a free album? This behaviour doesn’t look good on us, people. In fact, it looks downright wussy.

-Adam Grant

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