Why Does Everyone Hate U2?

Everyone loves a freebie, right?

Well, that’s certainly what the bigwigs over at Apple Inc thought when they signed a multi-million-dollar deal to exclusively give away the new album by rock goliaths U2 to its millions of iTunes users. For free.

Big mistake, as it turns out.

Frankly, its not been a good week for Apple. Just days after the U2 Spam incident their new iOS8 download was too big for most users to install on their iPhone without deleting treasured family photos and apps.

One wag remarked: “So Apple put the U2 album on everybody’s phone and then tell them they don’t have enough space for the iOS8 upgrade.”

But just why did the world react so badly to the gift of a free U2 album? Why did social media explode with tangible indignation?

Another social media commentator summed it up pretty well when he said in a Facebook status: “I have no issue with U2 releasing the album for free through iTunes. I have no issue with Apple dropping it straight into my playlist. I have no issue with experimental marketing campaigns.

“My issue is this. It’s rubbish.”

I have to be honest here (mainly because I’m shockingly awful at lying) U2 did seem an odd choice to launch a new iPhone when the average age of an iPhone 6 owner is likely to be somewhere around 30.

But, it seems, Apple has something of a long-standing bromance with Bono and chums. So strong is Apple’s love for the ageing espousers of rebel songs (Google it…they were considered quite cool at one point in the 1980s – it may have been a Wednesday afternoon in 1986) that they reportedly paid upward of $100m for the privilege of giving away the new U2 album as a free gift to iTunes aficionados.

At the risk of sounding cheesier than a soft-rock ballad from The Joshua Tree, those iTunes users, two days after the free U2 gift, still hadn’t found what they were looking for.

And that thing they were looking for turned out to be a digital spade to dig said album out from their overstuffed iTunes garden.

Apple were indeed forced to rather embarrassingly design a tool for the specific purpose of deleting U2’s new musical collection.

Some estimates, based on the size of the deal and the number of copies of the U2 album downloaded by fans who really couldn’t resist a digital portion of stadium rock, estimate it cost Apple $50 for each U2 album which changed hands digitally.


Steve Jobs, never one to be afraid of throwing money at global promotion, would be positively red-faced at the farce, wouldn’t he?

So, back to the beginning and the original question – why does everyone hate U2?

Well, I guess, for most, they’re a bit past it. Beyond their best. And, with the power and speed of social media, the ruckus caused by Apple forcing us to own their new album quickly became a world-wide scandal.

If there were such a thing as a digital ‘bargain bin’, doubtless you’d find it stuffed full of U2 albums today.

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