This week, technology fans who made the trip to Cupertino, California to see the unveiling of the iPhone VI and the latest smart phone were blindsided by an unexpected U2 performance and the ipso facto album launch of their latest offering, Songs of Innocence.
After singing the fairly bum-drizzly and forgettable, ‘The Miracle’, Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook, voiced by the spotty teenager from The Simpsons, subjected the crowd to more disappointment as they were made to stand helplessly and witness the two front men performing a kind of skit which had all the wit and timing of something which was planned as the two of them ascended the lift from the parking lot to the function room where the impromptu gig was about to take place.
The performance ran out something like a negotiation until it finally reached a climax whereby Bono and Cook were counting down from five until the new album was to be automatically uploaded onto over half a billion iTunes accounts worldwide.
When the two had finally reached the end of the countdown I felt my toes curl as the anemic grunts of approval from the crowd sounded like those reserved for malnourished peasants who have been forced from their squalid homes under the duress of semi-automatic rifles and steel-toe-capped boots to listen to a despotic statesman stand at a lectern to make wild prophesies about the production of grain, and national happiness having increased by four hundred and ten percent for a unprecedented fifth year in succession.
Judging by the wave of hostility banding around twitter and the like, the iTunes community seems to have received this ‘gift’ much in the same way as one receives an STD. Tyler the Creator, and sworn enemy of apostrophes tweeted:
GET OFF MY FUCKING PHONE. YOU COULDNT(sic) COME UP WITH AN ACTUAL MARKETING IDEA? FUCK @U2 I DONT(sic) WANT YOU. FUCK BONO. I DIDN’T(sic) ASK FOR YOU IM (sic) MAD
Apostrophes aside, Tyler the Creator raises an interesting question when it comes to marketing. For U2 it’s fairly obvious to see that this is simply a marketing ploy, but what’s (see what I did there Tyler) in it for Apple, I wonder?
I mean; surely one of the world’s most profitable companies, with its cavernous capacity for market research would have been well aware that, other than maybe Kanye West, they couldn’t have chosen a less suitable emissary for this kind of publicity stunt.
Bono is just about the only person that, out of principle, people would react so turbulently to for having received his music for free. I’m aware that U2’s former producer, Timmy Iovine is also the co-founder of Beats Electronics, so nepotism may be the root cause here, but it just seems as though Apple are moving in a mysterious direction with this one. It’s frightening to try and fathom what it could all possibly mean.