U2, Apple combine for "Songs of Innocence" (09/28/14)
How did U2's latest album release turn into one big, giant controversy? Let's just say an Apple a day might keep the dentist away, but it doesn't necessarily make music fans happy.
On September 9, 2014 U2 made a surprise announcement of its thirteenth studio album, dubbed "Songs Of Innocence," at an Apple product launch event well-hyped by the media. The same day, the album was released to the iTunes Store for customers at no cost. It made the entire record available to over 500 million iTunes customers, which Apple touted as "the largest album release of all time."
The problem with the U2 release, at least the way fans saw it, is that it was part of a larger roll-out strategy that automatically added the album to users' iTunes accounts without their consent. The backlash was so strong that Apple had to add a way for customers who didn't want the album to delete it from their iTunes account.
Bono was quick to brush off the criticism, explaining to media outlets that the entire point of the promotion was to get the album heard by as many people as possible and that it was 'mission accomplished.' He noted that less than a week after the announcement, the album had already been downloaded by some 77 million users, and that the band's "Singles" album was sitting in the top 10 of 14 different countries, all thanks to the deal with Apple.
It's been rumored (through Paul McGuinness, though he isn't U2's day-to-day manager anymore) that the band has plans for a major tour starting in the summer of 2015. As soon as we have more on U2 tickets, you'll be the first to know!
11/24/13: U2 is back in the studio and hard at work on their first album since 2009's "No Line on the Horizon." Not only that, but bassist Adam Clayton dropped some hints on Irish station 98 FM's Dermot and Dave show by saying, "We are still at it. We hope to have it finished very, very soon. It will be out, oh…sometime early next year," he said.
The band says it already has a good grasp on both the sound and the length of the upcoming album, describing it as a bit of a return to the old U2 blended with the more 'mature' sound of the U2 we've heard over the last decade. By now we know the project will have at least as dozen songs, but there hasn't been an official announcement on whether or not the label will also offer and extended version with any extra cuts.
It's true the band has certainly been taking its time putting together the final cut of "No Line on the Horizon," but fans clamoring for new stuff have been given a gift (of sorts). U2's music will appear in the upcoming film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in a fact-based biopic of the legendary South African activist and political leader's life. The soundtrack includes the U2 song "Ordinary Love," which was written and recorded especially for the movie.
U2 recently caused quite a stir with a surprise session on the promenade at the Bray seafront in Ireland. Band members were filmed singing their classic "Desire" before posing for photos with fans. The video recording sparked a rumor they were filming for a possible album cover, but the reason may not be known for sure until 2014. Stay tuned!
3/27/13: Despite a bit of radio silence from the band on the music front, U2 frontman, Bono, made headlines earlier this month after delivering a TED Talk about ending world poverty. This isn't the first time the rocker has taken the stage at the famed conference: in 2005, he gave a speech which outlined the number of orphan deaths in Africa due to poverty-related illnesses and lack of medicine. Fortunately, he had some good news at his most recent talk, and shared with the audience that the number of people living in extreme poverty has steadily declined. He even went so far as to say that in 2030, no one in the world will be living on less than one dollar a day. Despite the positive stats, Bono still urged those in attendance at the conference to not become complacent: "We can't get this done until we accept that we can get this done." The 52-year-old Irishman certainly has a way with words.
Besides Bono's usual philanthropic contributions to society, the rest of his bandmates are also stepping up to the plate. Earlier this year, the entire troupe donated the profits from their 2009 Dublin show (as part of their massively profitable U2360 tour) to help a local charity. Music Generation - a charity based out of Dublin which provides music education for local-area youths - received 4.9 million euros from the band, as well as a promise that they'll work with the foundation in 2014 to ensure it helps a new generation of musicians.
U2 has come a long way since 1976, when Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. formed their post-punk high school band in Dublin, Ireland. Over the past decades, U2 has developed a cult-like following with its exhilarating sounds and powerful, socially-charged lyrics. The band has released 12 studio albums to-date, with sales topping 150 million records worldwide. Among the projects were the 1987 breakthrough, 'The Joshua Tree,' and the 1991 effort 'Achtung Baby.' It was around this time that the group also integrated various influences like alternative, dance punk and industrial rock into the 'Zoo TV Tour,' with the elaborately staged event playing to arenas and stadiums around the world from 1992 through 1993. When it wrapped, U2 had done 157 shows, beginning in Lakeland, Florida, and eventually ending in Tokyo, Japan. Indeed, the band has truly come to embody pop-rock superstardom in the modern era. U2, with 22 Grammy wins, is best known for its live performances which feature The Edge's echoing guitar chords and Bono's passionate, muscular vocals.
No matter the venue, a U2 tour stop is packed to the brim as their music magnetizes thousands of fans. That was never more evident than during the U2360 Tour, with its 360-degree in-the-round staging, a massive four-legged supporting rig nicknamed 'The Claw,' a rapt attention to musical detail and an ambitious schedule that covered three continents, 100 shows and several years before winding down. It ended with a final gross of $736,137,344 and a total attendance north of 7 million. All of it came in support of the band's most recent album, 'No Line On the Horizon,' which bowed in February 2009 after two years of recording sessions and a full crew of engineers, mixers, drum, guitar and studio techs. It contained Bono's rally cry to the fans: 'Let's shout into the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light.' With no projects currently on the horizon, the band members are dedicating themselves to various philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, Product Red and The Edge's Music Rising initiative.
Tonight's U2 Show Most Expensive of 8-Night Residency
U2 is kicking off the first of an eight-night residency at Madison Square Garden tonight. With more than an estimated $7.4 million already spent on the secondary market for the performances, fans in the New York metro area are taking advantage of the opportunity to see U2 in the flesh. With eight different shows for…Read more
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