About that Free U2 Download from Apple

About that Free U2 Download from Apple

I’ll ‘fess up right here and now:  I like U2. I’ve liked them since I first heard them back in the 1980’s. I don’t care if it’s ‘cool’ to hate them; I’m a 50-something grandmother who has no intention of becoming a silly imitation of a 20-something hipster. And yes, I was happy to have a free U2 album to download to my iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook with U2 members The Edge, Bono, and Larry Mullen, Jr.

Hearing from the public reaction, however, you’d swear that ISIS had taken over the nation, declared sharia law, and had placed spyware into everyone’s tech devices to make sure that no one was enjoying any music at all.

Forbes published a short piece on Thursday analyzing the mistake Apple made in the giveaway.  Tech blogs were quick to ride to the rescue of anyone who found their iCloud account sullied by the presence of Bono & Company by offering tips on how to remove it.  Even Sharon Osborne, famous for no other accomplishment other than being married to a washed-up heavy metal rocker with an on-again, off-again drug problem, chimed in with this bit of nastiness:

‘Jimmy Iovine, iTunes, U2, you’re a bunch of megalomaniacs. F*** YOU!

Keep it classy, Sharon.

But then I heard Rush Limbaugh at the end of his show Friday, and his response to this whole kerfuffle made me smile. Because he said exactly what I had been thinking: 

“Apple, as part of a promotion, gave every one of their, what, 800 million customers a free copy of U2’s latest album. They didn’t put it on anybody’s computer. They didn’t put it on anybody’s phone. They put it on the servers and if you wanted to download it, you could.

You would have thought that Apple just stole everything that was on everybody’s phone.

The reaction to this was one of the most instructive, informative things I’ve ever seen in terms of helping me to understand just where a lot of young people’s thinking is on this subject, because there’s a great contradiction. The same people who were just behaving irrationally with hatred toward Apple and U2 over a gift, are the same people on Twitter and Facebook vomiting every piece of information about themselves to whoever will listen and read it.”

It’s a gift. You don’t have to download it, dammit.

My husband and I were discussing this overblown hysteria after we heard the Rush segment. We also talked about how the sheer idea, idea, of being able to own a small handheld phone containing a small computer inside was the stuff of science fiction when we were kids. We never even dreamed that someday we would be privileged to own a smart phone, a tablet, or a computer. When I was in college, the only students handling computers were the computer science majors. Hell, even the calculators were locked up in the library.

And now the 20-somethings are whining about free music that they don’t even have to download to their devices. Well, add that to their ever-growing list of complaints, like not attending college for free, or having access to free contraceptives, or, gasp! women being called “bossy!” Oh, the horror! And complain they do, all over social media.

As Rush concluded:

“Where they’re going for dinner, if they’re gonna be on time, what they had for dinner, did it make ’em sick, who they had dinner with, who they had dinner with that was a fool and who wasn’t. They’re vomiting all of this stuff! Apple puts a gift of an album on a server where it has to be downloaded if you want to use it, and you would have thought that the National Security Agency had just stolen every piece of information about these people.

It was the most… I mean, it was hatred, folks — sheer, unadulterated hatred — and for U2! I mean the group, U2. I bet Bono still hasn’t recovered from figuring out how many young people think he’s nothing more than a crotchety old man telling people to get off his front yard. He’s nothing more than dad’s band — and dad’s band is never cool, right? Yeah, it’s been fascinating to watch.”

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Yvonne Starks says:

    Well written….mostly because I had not been formerly aware of the horror of Apple’s bite of toxic U2….and this covered the story as a good reporter would.

    The over age 50 crowd is known to usually not understand or agree with much of the younger generations’ emotional angst, but I may have one extra ‘appalling’ reason the music lovers went berserk over Bono—they either remember, or remember their yuppie parents, being upset when “one of theirs”–Bono–helped a Republican—President George W. Bush.

    Now their cohort other idol, Apple, has indirectly help promote him too. ?? Just a thought.

    • Kim Quade says:

      And. . . Bono has expressed support of capitalism. Let’s not forget that he has been open about his Christianity as well.

  • Phil Dayton says:

    I think you have the facts wrong. The U2 album automaticallydownloaded to my IPhones when Iwas downloading a different song from ITunes. I was listening to my playlist when all of a sudden this unknown song starts playing. I look at the phone and see its U2. I found that annoying and there was no way I could figure out to get rid of ituntil Apple uploaded an app to strip it out.So your article is based on a false premise. I feel that Apple has no right to automatically download anything onto my ITunes and IPhone.

    • Kim Quade says:

      Phil, what happened to you was an unfortunate glitch, not an effort to put the U2 album directly to anyone’s device. A similar occurrence happened to me when I was on my iPad searching downloads of a particular artist on Amazon. An album I had no intention of purchasing downloaded to the iPad. I immediately contacted Amazon and was not charged.
      I stand by my facts and article.

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