DUBLIN — It took nearly 30 years for “The Joshua Tree,” the 1987 album that was U2’s breakout ticket to megastardom, to reach 30 million people. “Songs of Innocence,” which was released on Sept. 9 as part of the unveiling of the iPhone 6, pulled that off in three weeks. Bono, the band’s leader, explained as much to the packed audience at the Web Summit here, saying that 100 million people had listened to a song or two and that 30 million people had listened to the whole album.What WERE they thinking? That they OWN us?
It was not without costs, even though it was given away. The album was pushed onto the playlists of some 500 million iTunes users, and Apple and U2 ended up in stockades on the web for what many consumers saw as an unwanted intrusion into their most personal territory — their music collection.
Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, rang in the first day of the Web Summit, a gathering of tech and media industries, in Dublin on Nov. 4.Ireland Vies to Remain Silicon Valley’s Low-Tax Home Away From HomeNOV. 9, 2014 As a mushroom cloud of discontent erupted, Bono engaged in what sounded like contrition in a video posted on the band’s Facebook page as part of a Q. and A. with fans. One of them asked why U2 thought they could embed themselves in people’s phones without so much as a how-do-you-do.
Back in 1984, in one of the best-known and best TV advertisements ever, Apple introduced the MacIntosh by pitching itself as a rebellious upstart against IBM as dictatorial megacorp:
Now who's the hegemonic megacorp?
Of course, it's not simply Apple that's at fault here. U2 is hardly an innocent bystander in this fiasco. Just why do they think they've got the right to push themselves down our web-enabled throats?