In My life

So last month, I wrote about the free gift provided by U2 to 500 million iTunes customers. Some people were happy, some people were not. Some people didn’t care. To quell whatever storm this act of supposed benevolence created, Bono publicly apologized recently on Facebook. Apparently, a question posed to Bono accused the band of being rude and invasive by offering a free download of the “Songs of Innocence” album at no cost. Really? I was always taught to say thank you when someone gave me a gift.

Not to look that proverbial gift horse in the mouth, I was quite pleased to get this gift. However, the band was even more pleased than me. Songs of Innocence accounted for an incredible 26 million complete downloads since September 9th. And According to Apple, “…more than 81 million Apple customers “experienced” songs from the album…” I’d say the audience was reached.

Eddy Cue, Apple Sr. VP of Internet Software & Services said “to put this into perspective, prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes store in 2003.” Like it or not, it was a huge success for the band, Apple and i-Tunes subscribers.

The reality is that this marketing motion is a “game-changer.” Given the success of this promotion, it is only a matter of time before more artists and record companies copy this idea, expand on it and make it even bigger and better than this was. If you think about the fact that “Songs of Innocence” was downloaded 26 million times in about a 30 day period, you will know that there is significant money to be made on similar marketing promotions. Personally, I don’t care who came up with the idea. All I know, I got some good music for no cost and I didn’t even have to leave my home to get it.

Not content to sit on their benevolent laurels, Bono claims in an interview in Time that Apple is working on “an audio visual interactive format for music.” I was intrigued by the interview when he mentioned that this new initiative had the capability of bringing back album artwork in an interactive mode, better than ever. Ever since the CD replaced the LP and then the on-line replaced the CD, the issue of enjoying the artwork on an LP has gone away. As my eyesight got worse, the print on those CD’s became less legible.

Record collectors, much like myself reveled in the act of bringing home a new LP, cutting the shrink-wrap, pulling out the LP, gingerly placing it on the turntable without a finger touching the grooves on the record, dropping the needle on the LP, adjusting the headphones, then sitting down on a comfortable chair and waiting for the first few notes to magically envelope my ears as I spread the album cover out before me on my lap and began to enjoy the full act of hearing my favorite music while reading the liner notes and gazing at the pictures/artwork, all in one fluid and satisfying motion. If Bono and Apple can duplicate this, I’m on board!