LONDON (Reuters) - U2 lead singer Bono apologized on Wednesday to iTunes users who objected to receiving an automatic download of the Irish rock group’s latest album in September in conjunction with the launch of new Apple iPhones.
The release of the band’s 11-track “Songs of Innocence” free into an estimated 500 million iTunes accounts was a classic case of a publicity stunt backfiring, when thousands of users complained they did not want the album and that it took up precious storage space.
“Oops, I’m sorry about that,” Bono said in a video interview with the band posted on Facebook, in which U2 responded to questions posed by Facebook users.
His apology came in response to Harriet Madeline Jobson who asked: “Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to peoples’ playlists ever again? It’s really rude.”
It wasn’t the first time Bono has said sorry. He wrote the band’s song “Sweetest Thing” as an apology to his wife Ali for being in a recording studio on her birthday.
“I had this beautiful idea and we kind of got carried away with ourselves,” Bono said in his latest apology.
“Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard.
“There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it,” Bono said.
The free download of the band’s album was announced - and happened virtually simultaneously - when U2 performed at the Apple iPhone launch event in Cupertino, California on Sept 9.
At the time, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook had called it the largest album release in history because there are more than 500 million iTunes users, but it almost immediately turned into a public relations debacle for Apple and U2 as angry iTunes users took to social media to complain.
Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by David Stamp