Mr Apple would be the new president

Imagine, in the nineties, there is a man, let’s say Mr Apple, who walks through thousands of streets, putting in millions of personal cd-boxes the new album of U2, just for free! It would be the new president for sure, maybe even the new god.

But times have changed…..

I think it was a big surprise for apple too, anyway they are not often booed, but this time they bought something and give it away for free. They thought they did something good. But instead of “thank-you’s”  it turned out in a PR disaster.

Of course I am talking about the fact that apple puts the new U2 album “songs of innocence” to all users its “new purchases” in iTunes. For iTunes users who have turned on “download automatically new purchases” the album appeared directly in their music folder.

Of course you can talk about privacy in this case, or if U2 is still “cool” enough and about the missing remove-option in the first days, but that was not the base of the disaster in my opinion, however it reinforced the problem. But U2 was searching for an alternative business model for selling their music, by protecting their music from free streaming and downloading. More implicit Bono reacted with: ‘We’re not interested in free music – we think music is undervalued.’ Apple took the bait and paid U2 more than a 100m dollar for (1) the new album and (2) an apple marketing campaign with U2 in the lead. (, 2014)

The created business model was well suited with the music industry and with iTunes, but they forgot one factor: the customers.

Apple had already missed the boat with regard to music streaming in the first place. Therefore they bought “Beats by dr. Dre”, with its, “beats music”, streaming content Last may.

Yet, apple did not realize that the customers don’t want one specific album for free in a folder somewhere. Especially not when they have to pay individual for all other albums. They want all music, and by all music I mean all music, for free and without storage, like YouTube, Spotify or Deezer. And maybe, maybe they want to pay a little user-ease fee.But, they don’t want to pay for the music itself anymore.

Then there comes up the most important question for information goods like music nowadays: will there ever be a business model that fits all stakeholders’ needs as in the time of Mr. Apple?


Sherwin, A (2014) How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster, in:

Arthur, C (2014) How to take this strange protest over Apple’s giveaway of the U2 album, in:,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: