The U in U2 Stands for Universal

Its hard to believe that Apple as big as it is needed U2.  Last week with the announcement of the iPhone 6, 6+ and the apple watch they ended the live presentation by giving away the new U2 album to a  half a billion people. And none of them even saw it coming.

Bono is a very smart business man.  He made it clear on stage that he was not giving his album away for free.  Apple paid big bucks to make this album free to the public.

Apple is a smart company.  They are painfully aware that digital downloads are slowing and people are turning to streaming apps like Spotify and Rdio.  Apple knows this and so they bought Beats.  However, Apple has the biggest music story in the world so they need to protect their investment.  What do stores do to get people in the door?  It’s called a door buster.  Best Buy does them, Walmart does them and now millions and millions of people who were thinking about getting a new iPhone 6 were now on their old phones in the “retired” music app looking for something new.  

Apple was sending a message.  Apple was reminding people about how good it is to own music again.  They gave something that doesn’t disappear if you stop paying a fee at the end of the month.  In fact the album art is even positioned to remind people how good it is to own music.  Its vinyl that is the hip new way to own music.  Collectors aren’t lining up to purchase CDs anymore, they go around hunting vinyl.  So U2 comes out with an album that looks like a vinyl?  What are they trying to say here - it feels good to own your music.

The launch was spontaneous in order to stir a buzz. It got people scrolling through their iTunes library when the 5 second count down didn’t work out that well.  Could that have been planned as well?  I didn’t know how it would work so when I didn’t see U2 show up on my phone at first I checked the iTunes store and scrolled around.  How much other traffic did iTunes see that day?

The album is U2’s most commercial friendly record to date.  It will reach the broadest audience of any current artist.  Another phone company did this type of release before but it was with a phone purchase and it was a rap album that lent itself to a smaller demographic.  This is 500 million people.  The album is not only set to reach a broad number of people, but it has a much large audience primed and ready.

In the day of slowing digital downloads and slowing music sales over all, Apple gave the music industry a jolt kind of like defibrillator paddles.  U2 set the record for biggest album release, most digital downloads and put downloads back on the incline. History was made and Apple wanted U2 to make it with them by their side.  

Since Bono is extremely business savvy he found a way to capitalize on this opportunity of being needed by the biggest music industry giant.  My guess is that Apple bought the album for a lump some similar to  what they made in total off their last album, or they pay per actual download at a discounted rate.  Since Bono used the word “bought,” past tense, my sense was that there was large lump sum.  Not only that but there will be a physical version on Oct. 12th that will act as a deluxe version with more songs (confirmed by AXS.com’s Chase Hunt).  Bono also used his U2 site to mention that sooner than later a follow up sister album called Songs of Experience (which has since been edited out of the article but confirmed on other sites).

This release has led to 9 other U2 back catalogue albums breaking into the top 100 album downloads, while 24 have made the top 200 on iTunes (cited from NME.com).  I didn’t buy any new albums, but I did trade someone an old cd for a U2 album on Murfie.com. (Side note: most other back catalogue U2 albums are there for $2).  Apple set the stage, but U2 found ways to capitalize it from all sides.

The album artwork has Sept. 9th handwritten on the front, no doubt a way to symbolize forever what Apple is trying to do.  They are leading people back to the iTunes store.  From September 9th to Oct. 12th, when the album releases to all retailers, the only way to hear the world’s biggest album is to hear it straight from Apple.  

And that of course is the way Apple likes it.

1 month ago | Tags: u2 songs of innocence songs of innocence u2 itunes songs of experience september 9 apple

Best albums of 2013

As my usual mode of operation I post my top albums of the previous year about halfway through the next. Why? I don’t know but I do know that these albums have staying power. Here are my top albums of 2013:

Top 10

Citizens (self titled)
Andrew Belle’s Black Bear
Leagues’ You Belong Here
OneRepublic’s Native
Air Review’s Low Wishes
Local Native’s Hummingbird
Paramore (self-titled)
Ben Rector’s The Walking In Between
Icon For Hire (self-titled)
Cold War Kids’ Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

This the year of the self-titled album! These aren’t necessarily in any particular order but I do say that Citizens and Andrew Belle stole my heart this year. Girl rock also impressed me this year with Paramore and Icon For Hire.

1 month ago | Tags: citizens Andrew belle leagues one republic air review local natives Paramore Ben rector icon for hire cold war kids top 10 list

Sometimes you need a good music recommendation. Yours today is the band @instalakes (LAKES) new album FIRE AHEAD.

Sometimes you need a good music recommendation. Yours today is the band @instalakes (LAKES) new album FIRE AHEAD.

2 months ago |

Wetting your whistle. This shirt up for order later this month to support @fijikindeproject

Wetting your whistle. This shirt up for order later this month to support @fijikindeproject

3 months ago |

Was encouraged by Farshid this morning even though he is thousands of miles away in a prison cell with a broken foot without medical attention. #iran

Was encouraged by Farshid this morning even though he is thousands of miles away in a prison cell with a broken foot without medical attention. #iran

5 months ago | Tags: iran

Since the beginning… We have included you, now you are part of us in our newest offering The Teenager in baseball or plain t. Order online now, link in the profile.

Since the beginning… We have included you, now you are part of us in our newest offering The Teenager in baseball or plain t. Order online now, link in the profile.

5 months ago |

"The Burden" now available online. Order at www.fathom33.com. || view page to read about the artist as well as the meaning behind the shirt.

"The Burden" now available online. Order at www.fathom33.com. || view page to read about the artist as well as the meaning behind the shirt.

5 months ago |

The $500 album

And the winner is…

Out of 91 albums, the best of the lot, purchased on eMusic is Black Bear by Andrew Belle. andrewbellemusic

His album was hands down a standout. He was heads above the rest and deserves the title of “The $500 album.”

Congrats Andrew on such a great record, this one has staying power and will be in rotation for years to come. A big thanks to eMusic for giving me $500 to their store to do this social experiment.

In the next post I’ll finally be able post my top 10 albums of 2013. Any guesses who might be on it?

5 months ago | Tags: Andrew belle 500 album best album emusic top ten of 2013 the voice black bear

Top 2 - do or die

I’m looking to find the one $500 album, not the two $250 albums, but if I were, these would be it. Both are such amazing albums and I recommend that everyone check them out. Andrew totally changed his style for this record and I agree with his new direction 100 percent. Citizens, on the other hand, created a style of music I didn’t know I needed - I have bought multiple copies of this album only to give it away to friends.

59. Andrew Belle’s Black Bear, ‘13 
4. Citizens’ self-titled, ‘13

6 months ago |

Top 4 - difficult decisions.

At this point these albums feel like friends… And how could you cut down three of your closest friends? Well, you have to if you want to find out “the best friend.” At this point each album is worth $125 each, so that’s not bad.

77. Icon For Hire’s Self-Titled, ‘13
59. Andrew Belle’s Black Bear, ‘13 
4. Citizens’ self-titled, ‘13
1. Cold War Kids’ Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, ‘13

6 months ago | Tags: 500 album icon for hire andrew belle citizens cold war kids

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