U2 | BFD

1 Comment 21 | September | 2014

Unless you’re hipster 1.0, deep in the bowels of Portland, listening to your phonograph, drinking organic Chai while grooming your beard and waxing your moustache, you’ve probably heard rumblings about U2’s recent record release campaign. Partnering with Apple, the favorite sons of Ireland (narrowly beating out Danny Boy) distributed their new album to over 500 million listeners for FREE. The new album, Songs of Innocence, magically appeared in iTunes libraries around the world; meanwhile the band and Apple awaited a certain tidal wave of applause from fans and critics.

Instead, this “stunt” has elicited venomous remarks from “all corners of the world,”* with resentment continuing to accumulate as the colorfully collaborative Apple ad airs ad nauseam (alliteration bonus points).
* Dear Bill Shakespeare, the world is round so get a clue….loser.

Perhaps the harshest of rants came from Tyler, the Creator, head of the LA-based rap collective Odd Future, and leading authority in the field of misogyny. Known for his eloquent, poetic, and CAPITALIZED prose, Mr. Creator unleashed a series of frustrated tweets bashing Bono and his mates for invading is phone. Yet this is only one example of such fury reigning down across the web, beckoning the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to arrive with equal unexpectedness at Bono’s doorstep.


So here is my question to the internet and the hoards of upset iTunes users, phrased in equally elegant verbiage, “WHO GIVES A FUCK?!”

Look, if NOT listening to music is the hardest part of your day, you’re a net-loss for humanity, so consider making an effort to bring yourself out of the red. Pissing and moaning, 140 characters at a time about free shit ruining your life casts unfavorable light onto your privileged outlook and acute laziness. This goes waaay beyond First World Problems; we’re talking Crises of the 1%. “Woe is me. Call the Waaaaa-mbulance. I’ve been violated.”

crying child

Given the hatred spewing from some of these trolls, I’d love to witness the fallout when they catch a minimum-wage employee placing a flyer on their windshield. #firstdegreemurder

Do these people go to Costco on Saturdays and start fist fights with the old ladies handing out samples of orange chicken?

To those affected by the “loathsome” and “inexcusable” actions I’d like to offer a quote from one of my favorite Bright Eyes song titles, “Let’s not shit ourselves”. There a causes out there that are far more worthy of public note than legally distributed free music. Besides, what are these web hobgoblins hoping to gain from their internet exploits, a handwritten letter from Bono, expressing his deepest regrets for giving you free music? A signed pair of gaudy sunglasses you can hawk on Ebay? Perhaps he flies to your house and presses the “skip” button every time “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” queues?


I’m not even going to debate the merits of the distribution tactics, as that has clearly taken a back seat to the mountainous backlash that continues to amass. However, it’s worth noting that the PR from all of the negative feedback is a win for both Apple and U2, neither of which is at risk of going tits up from one bad marketing crusade. Granted, the outcome is probably 180 degrees from what they expected, but even bad press is good press, right Ray Rice.

Admittedly, my Facebook feed has benefit from the resulting focus and criticism, removing all traces of videos and hashtags #alsicebucketchallenge. Bravo. But if we could all move on to a more relevant topic du jour I’d appreciate it. I’m sure there is some ISIS sexting scandal to debate, or a caber toss for independence rally to rank on.

Now excuse me while I load the new U2 album onto my Apple watch before I fly to Africa to help Bono breastfeed orphans.

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