An innocent mistake?

Lots of music news lately, most prominently U2’s free album, Songs of Innocence, appearing in the music library of every owner of an iTunes Store account. And it seems like many people have serious issues with this.

I originally sided with those saying that this is a real first-world problem: “Oh no, I got a free album by a famous band on my €700 pocket computer.” But I hadn’t really looked at it from the other side until I read Marco Arment’s blog post:

Apple set everyone’s account to have “purchased” this album, which auto-downloaded it to all of their devices, possibly filling up the stingy base-level storage that Apple still hasn’t raised and exacerbate[d] by iOS’ poor and confusing storage-management facilities. And when people see a random album they didn’t buy suddenly showing up in their “purchases” and library, it makes them wonder where it came from, why it’s there, whether they were charged for it, and whether were hacked or had their credit card stolen.

It was a sloppy, hamfisted execution uncharacteristic of Apple, much like the painfully awkward, forced, cheesy Tim/Bono marketing skit announcing this promotion that slaughtered the momentum of the otherwise very important iPhone 6/Pay/Watch event.

I’ve had auto-downloads turned off since it’s been available, and I’d forgotten that it was an option in the first place. But I’m not surprised, particularly with Apple and cloud security having been so much in the news lately, that some people thought their accounts had been hacked. It’s easy, as a tech-literate person, to assume everyone had heard about this release, but they hadn’t.

As I didn’t have auto-downloads turned on, I had to actually seek out the album. It wasn’t worth it. I haven’t listened to it in depth, and I probably won’t bother, but to judge by the first few tracks, it’s ground that U2 has been over before, in better songs.

Incidentally, I did enjoy whoisu2.com, but is anyone really surprised that a band that peaked in the ’80s and had their latest release five years ago is unknown to a lot of sixteen-year-olds?

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