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Music Apple Entertainment

Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices 610

Zanadou writes "Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2's latest album, titled Songs of Innocence, via iTunes. But now, it looks like it's also on track to become one of the worst music publicity stunts of all time. Users who have opted to download new purchases to their iPhones automatically have found the new U2 album sitting on their phones. But even if iTunes users hadn't chosen automatic downloads, Songs of Innocence will still be displayed as an "iTunes in the Cloud" purchase. That means it will still be shown as part of your music library, even if you delete all the tracks. The only way to make the U2 album go away is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your "iTunes in the Cloud" purchases, or to use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list. Other reactions include rapper Tyler, The Creator saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with an STD. Update: 09/16 15:06 GMT by T : Note: Apple has released a fix.
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

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  • by Catamaran ( 106796 ) * on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:03AM (#47906205)
    If you buy a product from Apple, it's not really yours. Oh, you own the lump of hardware, but the apps, the content, the OS? No, you do not own any of that.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @03:13AM (#47906439)

      If you buy a product from Apple, it's not really yours.

      It's not about the product, it's about the account. People with "download new purchases automatically" switched on aren't forced into it by Apple, it's a user preference. The problem here is that Apple marked the album as purchased for their iTunes account, and that kicked off the normal download that happens when the user deliberately buys music.

      It's a side-effect of how the system is supposed to work according to the user's preferences. It just fucked up badly because it wasn't designed with this use-case in mind.

      The user getting the album downloaded automatically is just a symptom. The real problem is that instead of setting the price to free, Apple added it to people's iTunes account automatically. It's really got nothing to do with a product "not being yours" at all. It's working exactly as the user set it up to work - the problem is with the account, not the product.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15, 2014 @03:31AM (#47906489)

        " the problem is with the account, not the product. "

        It is a product problem. It seems that many people were happy with products they purchased (a deliberate act) being automatically downloaded.
        They are less happy with something thrust upon them without consent.

        Apple could have easily made the cost zero for any existing accounts and allowed people to chose to "purchase" it, and the problem wouldn't have occurred.
        This is Apple using an existing product in a new way, beyond customer expectations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rikkards ( 98006 )

          My guess is they went the way they did was that it is a one time modification to the database to mark it as purchased. If a new person comes on they don't get the album free. Setting it to $0 for only existing users would be probably more difficult.
          I understand what they did but I think it kind of backfired for them.

          • Or they could have set the price to $0 for the next 1 or 6 months or something like that.

            I'm not a U2 fan. I think I like one or two of their songs. I have no interest in getting their new album (or being some of the people counted as why their new album went Double-Platinum).

            If, instead, I was given a free $10 gift card from Apple to anything in their catalog, I would be happy to make my own selections.

      • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @04:20AM (#47906639)

        There may all sorts of good reasons for why it has happened and why it isn't an evil conspiracy to pollute the minds of young people, but it misses the point, really.

        Happily, I don't own a smartphone, but I think I would have been rather annoyed too. It's like being spammed or getting a huge wad of unwanted advertising in garish colours through the door - it's something you never asked for and wouldn't have wanted if you had been asked, it's simply inflicted on you and you now have to do something to get rid of the useless crap. At the root of this lies the feeling that you're not being given a choice, because your opinion doesn't matter, and whoever makes the decisions thinks you are just a mindless automaton who will go out and spend money on whatever the loudest advert tells you.

        In the end, it's about respect: you show respect to earn respect. But if producers of eg. music don't respect their potential customers, why should people respect them back? Particularly, why respect the copyright they claim ownership of? I don't condone piracy, but I do understand where it comes from.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          Makes sense. Google Play has had $0 album promotions on occassion. If you don't "buy" the album you might miss out on it, but nothing shows up in your library unless you go out and buy it. Nobody complains about this.

          If the local store offered a free roll of toilet paper with every purchase before 10AM next Saturday nobody would be bothered by it. If the same store went around throwing rolls of toilet paper at everybody's houses at night people would complain, and rightly so.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you buy a product from Apple, it's not really yours.

        It's not about the product, it's about the account. People with "download new purchases automatically" switched on aren't forced into it by Apple, it's a user preference.

        Not quite. It is the default setting, and if you never bought music for your phone and would not dream of doing so and do not have a data plan that would make that an affordable option anyway, you are still getting the album shoved on your phone.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually it's not the default setting...

          I HAVE an iPhone 5s, and YES it was there, but, no, it wasn't downloaded... it was in my list of albums and opening the album showed it was only a one click away to download (click the download from cloud button on the album)... and as I don't use my iphone for music, (I use the old fashioned radio in my car for music) I heard about it "downloading automatically" so I went in there, oh look I have 1 album with 11 songs in my music folder... oh, they're all "Cloud" a

          • by McFly777 ( 23881 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @10:59AM (#47908941) Homepage

            I don't see this as a huge problem. Not particularly invasive. If you don't like U2, don't click on the cloud. If you have things set in a particular way, it might download automatically, but you can now "delete" things directly from your phone (as against the way that it used to be where you needed to do everything from iTunes); so again, not too big of a deal. OTOH, it shows up as an entry in your list of albums, which could become annoying if this were to become any sort of standard practice, but only because at some point it makes it harder to find the items which you want to be there.

            In this way it isn't too much different from the new Amazon Prime Music app, which lists all the "free" streamed albums offered through Amazon Prime membership. It becomes hard to browse for something I am interested in because there are so many things that I am NOT interested in. That being said, I can't complain too much as I haven't paid for any of them (I paid for the prime membership for other reasons) and it is occasionally nice when I want to hear something that haven't thought to purchase outright. Search works well, just browsing not-so-much, and even then sometimes one _wants_ to browse through things unknown to find something new.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fractoid ( 1076465 )
        Seems to me that the problem is people wanting to complain over nothing. So what if an album (and it's not like it's something offensive) gets added to your iTunes account as a 'purchased' product?

        Maybe Apple could have added a new category with a separate list of "Free Media" or something, but seriously? I'm no fan of Apple but this is a storm in a molehill.
        • Weird Al has a whole song [youtube.com] about just this very thing.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        People with "download new purchases automatically" switched on aren't forced into it by Apple, it's a user preference.

        That's like saying you can avoid junk mail by simply not having a mail box. Someone is taking advantage of something you installed for your own convenience, wasting your resources. What about people who are on metered connections, can they claim any fees back from Apple for the tens of megabytes of spam forced on them?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sigh, that's life. Well, at least my nude pictures are mine. Wait...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vlad30 ( 44644 )
      If you are offered a free product you will say either say thank you or no thank, However if its jammed down your throat you will gag and maybe puke. its the method of the offering here no choice, just here you go jam that into your hard drive, even if its not to your musical taste

      Additionally the motive I'm expecting Bono to now come out and say "Songs of Innocence" the most downloaded Album in history but I would give more credence to a torrent stat at least someone deliberately wanted that

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The same can be said of any Android device with Google services installed. If you don't want your phone doing things without your consent, you will have to put on Cyanogen mod, and only use apps from the Fdroid repo.

  • by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:07AM (#47906213)
    I should take my Mac into the shower to wash away any remaining traces...but that might void the warranty.
  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:08AM (#47906219)

    You'll get over it.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @03:08AM (#47906429) Homepage

      Complaining about other people having first world problems.... where does that rank?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:12AM (#47906229)

    If this album is 100 Mbytes at AT&T's roaming price of $19.95 per megabyte, this is going to cost me $1,995. The album is on my phone so I hope it downloaded over a week ago! If not, I'm screwed because this is a work phone. They were fine with me checking email a few times the last time I traveled, but that was only $45 in overage fees. This is going to be very profitable for AT&T and other providers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Turn off automatic iTunes downloads. It's in settings iTunes .

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @07:36AM (#47907143)

      If this album is 100 Mbytes at AT&T's roaming price of $19.95 per megabyte, this is going to cost me $1,995.

      It's not going to cost you anything unless you went into Settings > iTunes & App Store and told it to use mobile data for automatic downloads. That's off by default, which means it only performs these kinds of downloads if it's connected to the Internet by WiFi.

  • Whiners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrbcs ( 737902 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:17AM (#47906253)

    It downloaded over wi-fi on my phone.

    I had to actually start my download because I turn OFF THE ABILITY TO AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOAD!!!

    I swear, the more technology we get the dumber people become. Stop yer damn whining and delete the FREE ALBUM.

  • HA-HA! [youtube.com]
  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:51AM (#47906373)
    This problem could have been easily avoided. Send iTunes users an announcement that they can go to the store and get the U2 album for free, if they want to. That's how the game stores Steam and GOG usually do these kind of things. I have not seen them chucking any items into my library against my will.
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by GigaplexNZ ( 1233886 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:59AM (#47906403)
      I've had Steam put promotional stuff in my library automatically on a couple of occasions.
      • I hate Steam for doing this. All those fucking cards and coupons in my inventory and no option to just delete them. Also, I know it was part of a pack I bought but I know I'm never going to touch Deus Ex Invisible War. Yeah, I know it'd be an extremely rare thing to want to do and more likely to be used for nefarious trolling purposes but still...

        I have issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15, 2014 @02:51AM (#47906375)

    it could have been nickelback....

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @03:12AM (#47906437) Journal
    still haven't found what they're looking for...
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @03:23AM (#47906475) Journal
    to, Yeah Yeah Yeah!
  • So, Bono is back from Africa then.
  • STD's (Score:4, Funny)

    by mendax ( 114116 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @04:02AM (#47906565)

    Other reactions include rapper, Tyler, The Creator, saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with a STD.

    Well, given that I listen pretty much exclusively to classical music, finding the new U2 album on my iPhone (if I had one) or on my Mac in iTunes would be more like waking up and seeing that my ex-wife's sister is in bed with me. Ewww....

    But on a serious note, this behavior by Apple is very unpolite, regardless of whether the album is pushed onto one's phone, computer, or cloud account.

  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @04:03AM (#47906573) Homepage

    I thought this album release was quite significant actually. Many years ago Courtney Love wrote on Salon.com ("Courtney Love does the math") that she was not bothered with P2P distribution of her music, as in fact CD sales were not a source of income for artists. Every now and again the publishers associations whine about how artists will perish due to P2P, and on /. there is disagreement with no proper evidence to support it. Now we see a well established band and Apple showing that revenue sharing with a publisher for printing CDs that may or may not be bought is not the best deal they could have.

    Opt-in and UI preferences aside, this album was a major release.

    • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @04:23AM (#47906653)

      Totally. Because U2 are your typical, just about getting by, rock band.

      U2 don't have to sell another album, ever, to remain multi-millionaires. They could give away their work for nothing for the rest of their lives, and still be richer than 99.99% of the planet. They are not, in any way, a template for other musicians.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        We already know that new artists do well from free distribution of their work. From Metallica back in the days of bootleg tapes of their gigs, to modern artists who get started on YouTube and social media. We already know that established acts aren't significantly harmed by piracy either, and this just confirms that in a high profile way.

        Artists have always needed to give their music away for free. The money they get from radio play is a fraction of the pittance they get from CD sales, but it's an essential

    • Many years ago Courtney Love wrote on Salon.com ("Courtney Love does the math") that she was not bothered with P2P distribution of her music, as in fact CD sales were not a source of income for artists.

      I assume she was basing this on her own CDs , and indeed the royalties on 37 worldwide sales is probably cancelled out by the clerical, stationery and postage charges incurred by the record company.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday September 15, 2014 @04:27AM (#47906665)

    This strikes me as simply the next logical step in marketing. U2 is a major group, and it's hard to argue that giving customers their new album as a bonus is a bad thing. But the next step will be "free" albums Apple wants you to listen to, and the one after that will be extorting artists to pay them to have their albums released this way.

    The final step, no doubt, will be an extra fee to have automatic installation of such stuff disabled.

  • by Centurix ( 249778 ) <centurix@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 15, 2014 @08:31AM (#47907431) Homepage

    They know that ALL their users are U2 fans. Every. Single. One.

    And from this point on, if someone says they bought an iPhone you can say to their face that they are U2 fans, even if they deny it. Because Apple SAYS they are U2 fans, and to them that is the word of their god.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @09:09AM (#47907745)

    The only way to make the U2 album go away is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your "iTunes in the Cloud" purchases, or to use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list.

    Incorrect. In iTunes there's a prominent "X" displayed on the upper right corner of the album. Click it. The album is gone.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @10:15AM (#47908479)

    Four things happened:

    - Apple pushed something on us that we did not ask for, just so that U2 could reach multi-platinum status with the latest album almost instantly.

    - Apple forced the music taste of their CEO on everyone with an iTunes account. They should have set the album price to "free" and let people decide if they wanted it or not. Use their music in the iPhone 6 ads and write "U2 album available for free on iTunes until date xyz" at the end of the ad, no need for anything else.

    - A lot of people have monthly data quotas, and some are always on the edge of going over it. Around 100MB might not seem like much, but on a cellphone plan of 2GB that's 5% wasted, or roughly a day and a half of data if you spread it over 30 days. Will Apple pay for the people who went over their monthly cap because of this publicity stunt? That certainly doesn't make the album "free" for those people, on the contrary.

    - the iTunes algorithms make recommendations based on our purchases. Now, because of the "purchase" of this U2 album that I didn't ask for, I'll get recommendation for things I absolutely hate, which means Apple just destroyed their own recommendation system, which means I'll be ignoring recommendations from now on, which means less profits for Apple. How stupid is that.

  • by Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Monday September 15, 2014 @01:03PM (#47910319) Homepage

    It's Canter and Siegel for the new millennium. Expect to see more of this (and not just from Apple).

    We need a proper open-source phone. Maybe it's time to look into that Pi-phone again. http://www.raspberrypi.org/pip... [raspberrypi.org]

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