Bono Shares Another Apology for Putting That U2 Album in Everyone's iTunes

Bono has once again issued an apology and taken the blame for forcing U2’s 2014 album 'Songs of Innocence' into everyone’s iTunes library for free.

Bono, lead singer with U2 performs during the Experience and Innocence tour

Image via Getty/Charles McQuillan

Bono, lead singer with U2 performs during the Experience and Innocence tour

Bono has once again issued an apology for forcing U2’s 2014 album Songs of Innocence into everyone’s iTunes library.

In an exerpt from his memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, via the Guardian, Bono admitted that he made a mistake when he convinced Apple to distribute the album to every user of its iTunes platform. At the time, Apple had yet to get into the world of streaming, with Apple Music arriving less than a year later.

“Free music? Are you talking about free music,” Bono recalled hearing from Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Music asking him when they met to discuss the release of Songs of Innocence. “You want to give this music away for free? But the whole point of what we’re trying to do at Apple is to not give away music free. The point is to make sure musicians get paid.” Bono told Cook that the idea was to have Apple pay for it, and then the company give it away for free “as a gift to people.”

When he spoke with Cook, he compared the idea to when Netflix would purchase the rights to a movie and then distribute it. “But we’re not a subscription organization,” Cook replied, to which Bono added, “Not yet, let outs be the first.” Cook wasn’t convinced on the idea, Bono noted, but eventually they were able to come to an agreement and the record was automatically added to millions of people’s iTunes library, at times prompting automatic downloads to iPhones and iPods.

“You might call it vaunting ambition. Or vaulting. Critics might accuse me of overreach. It is," wrote Bono of the move. "We didn’t just put our bottle of milk at the door but in every fridge in every house in town. In some cases we poured it on to the good people’s cornflakes. And some people like to pour their own milk. And others are lactose intolerant.”

Bono said that he takes “full responsibility” for the move, and wanted to stress that no one else in U2 was at fault. Neither was Tim Cook, he added. “I’d thought if we could just put our music within reach of people, they might choose to reach out toward it. Not quite,” he added. “As one social media wisecracker put it, ‘Woke up this morning to find Bono in my kitchen, drinking my coffee, wearing my dressing gown, reading my paper.’ Or, less kind, ‘The free U2 album is overpriced.’ Mea culpa.”

Bono previously apologized for the move just a month after the album’s release. “Oops, I’m sorry about that,” he replied to a fan during a question and answer session on Facebook. “There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess, we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

Bono’s full memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, is out on Nov. 1.

Latest in Music