When A Giveaway Is Not A Giveaway?

U2 Songs of Innocence

“You’ll have noticed the album is free to U2.com’ers from the band. It’s also free to everyone on iTunes thanks to Apple. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of our iPod commercial, they bought it as a gift to give to all their music customers. Free, but paid for. Because if no-one’s paying anything for it, we’re not sure “free” music is really that free. It usually comes at a cost to the art form and the artist… which has big implications, not for us in U2, but for future musicians and their music… all the songs that have yet to be written by the talents of the future… who need to make a living to write them.” – Bono

The above quote came from a letter posted on u2.com. Call me annoyed. Call me jaded. When the richest band in the world can’t give away music themselves, I get upset. You may ask me why.

To be clear, what happened with Songs of Innocence is not a new business model. It is not a new marketing strategy that new bands can follow. It is not attempt to change the game. It is simply a brilliant marketing maneuver by two of the biggest music corporations on Earth. And yes, U2 is a corporate dynasty.

For clarity, I am a U2 fan. The new album is impressive though will not take the world by storm except for the fact that anyone with an Apple device can listen to it. This will neither help nor hurt their legacy. The follow up album, Songs of Experience, will tell the tale whether U2 exits (and consider there could be a third album – the long rumoured Songs of Ascent) band life on top or just trying too hard to be relevant.

What irks me is that U2 could not find it in themselves to give away the album to their fans themselves. They HAD to be paid. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be paid but let’s face a fact here. U2 will get more credit for the free album giveaway because their name is on it. Most people won’t pay enough attention to realize Apple is giving it away.

U2 made over $700 million on the last tour (U2 360). If there was a band on this planet that could afford it, it’s U2. But they just couldn’t do it. Incredible marketing ploy? Sure.

That need to get paid gives all the appearances of a certain self-righteousness. They have earned their millions. I do not deny them their success. They have homes in places like the south of France, Manhattan, Malibu. They hang out with stars. They hang out with power players. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Bono hanging out with the poor. Has he forgotten the humble beginnings? He may write about them, but does he remember the real struggles? Maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t. I don’t really know. Appearances tell me perhaps he has. I wonder if Larry is really the one who feels that need to be paid. Or is it all of them?

From my perspective either charge for the album or don’t. This idea that you getting paid because someone else was willing to give it out free is somehow supporting the art and the art form is pretty ridiculous.

A business analyst on CTV news in Toronto was discussing it this morning. “The biggest giveaway in music history…perhaps the biggest sellout in music history”.

Curious who thinks I am an ass and if anyone agrees.

U2 Songs of Innocence

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U2 -Songs Of Innocence

U2 Songs of Innocence

Available for free if you are on iTunes.  Available elsewhere October 13, 2014 (Deluxe version will include acoustic versions of some songs plus 4 new tracks).

Track List:

The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)

Every Breaking Wave

California (There Is No End To Love)

Song For Someone

Iris (Hold Me Close)

Volcano

Raised By Wolves

Cedarwood Road

Sleep Like A Baby Tonight

This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now

The Troubles

 

To see my initial thoughts on each track, please go here!

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Lost Futures

Lost Futures 1

As I lay here
Pondering the earth
Lost in the universe
I can’t find my anchor

I look at it all and wonder
Wander in search of answers
And all I see is cancers
Killing us all

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From a corporate crime
Not the end
In some revelation line

I break
Not so much in tears
More like endless fears
At the insanity

When all I can see
Is the blindness of the manipulated
Irrational face of the uneducated
And the sureness of those who don’t know

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From a gospel crime
Not the end
In some desperation line

And now the pain
That comes from seeing truth
The lies that come from truce
All those wishful thinkers

And leaders here
Who don’t give a shit about you
Death is your only thing that you’re due
Where’s the humility live?

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From an illicit war crime
Not the end
In some preservation line

And now again I watch
Humanity has a place
In this destructive human’s race
Though no one wants to see

If we can rise above
All those petty virtues
To a road that we can all choose
My mind could finally rest

Lost Futures 2

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Could U2’s Album Be Called “Infinity”?

U2 Sirens

I’ve been have a field day playing around with the bits and pieces of the U2 news in recent weeks.  I am holding firm on my belief the album will be released November 4th (see this).

And this not official but pretty official looking teaser for Sirens contains some interesting details.

It may be real though u2.com has not posted it as I write this. Could be an awesome fake. The part that made me think it might be real was the “8” figure at the end.

Now “U2 8″ seems like bullshit but one never knows. The way it was put together made me wonder if the album might not be called “Infinity”. THAT title plays into my ongoing conspiracy theory that this will be end for U2. More on that if this turns out to be real. Perhaps the second album release during this coming tour (did I mention ongoing conspiracy theories?) will be called “Resurrection” or maybe “Omega”. Remember you heard it here first (notwithstanding my array of terribly wrong predictions!).

Oh! When I tried to go to u2infinity.com, I ended up on a Bing page. So? When I tried u2.infinity.com and infinityu2.com what did I get? Page requested not found. Hmmmm…..

U2 Sirens 2

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Where I Am Going

Where I Am Going
I marked the date on the calendar
Like it was a cross
Some form of endless remembrance
Of some piece of time I had lost

I walked to the door and it opened
Don’t recall if that was my fault
It seemed like principled idea
Now burning like a wound full of salt

The driver said this was place
This was where I had wanted to be
But when I stepped out there was nothing
Barren landscape I needed to flee

Words can escape
From my mouth
Or just me
And a dice roll might remind me
From whence it came
But where I am going
Might just be insane

Second turn to minutes
And hours turn to dust
Black water into oil
And gold into rust

My blood glows and glistens
Through my rice paper skin
As my fist slams into
My patronizing grin

Lest ye believe
That violent refrain
Red curled lips
My own disdain

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Do We Have A U2 Release Date?

U2 Album

Please check out my guest blog entry at Alan Cross’ Journal of Musical Things to see what I’ve discovered…

You can view my blog post here!

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The Silencing of Science

silence science

I guess you could call me a nerd. I do wear glasses. Tape is lacking though, at least for today. I have no pocket protector. There’s no calculator in my pocket…well there is one on my phone.

There are days I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I grew up with heroes like John Glenn and Carl Sagan. And I had musical heroes too. And sports heroes. I didn’t celebrate the stupid people. No one did. People who did stupid things were, well, stupid.

Education was important. Yes, we all hated school at times but we knew we had to do it. We wanted a good job and a future. Government cuts to education have taken the potential out of our schools. This is not teachers fault. The media and the government love to focus on the few bad teachers instead of praising and promoting the best and brightest. All you ever hear about is the ‘luxury’ of summers off and the occasional teacher sleeping with a student. Why is creation being touted as science when it is anything but? And why are you okay with that? Why do you think Christian teachings have anything to do with school let alone ALL the public?

Turn on your tv these days and what do you see? News? Hardly. Infotainment is the buzzword for what news has become. Stylized bullshit. They don’t have journalists telling stories. They have on-air reporters showing you sensations. A Bieber story would clobber anything related to climate change.

President Obama has been slammed for his intellect, being called an ‘elite’ for having an education. In Canada, Prime Minister Harper has closed labs and ridiculed the need for, and the need to, have that kind of data. Meanwhile his government extracts Facebook data, openly admitting they use the data to ‘see how government programmes are being received’ but don’t bother sharing that with the other elected parties nor with the public who elected them. They also eliminated the long-form census as ‘unnecessary’ even though that data is critical to making informed programme decisions.

When did data become a bad word?

Question everything

As we watch science get further and further ignored. As we watch real information get pushed away in favour of partisan buzzwords. As we watch our education levels drop. Let me ask you this:

How does that tv you are watching work? Did magic make that happen? God perhaps?

How does your cell phone work? Can you fix it if it breaks?

In Texas and California, what is causing the massive drought?

Why does all the Arctic and Greenland ice appear to be melting at alarming rates? Check out this discussion on Antarctic ice melt and the repercussions coming for the generations that follow.

Why are the storms we see today seem to be bigger and stranger than any we’ve seen before? And why so many more of them?

How are we going to solve these problems and many others? By hoping? Praying? Leaving it to government even though you don’t believe in government.

Science.

We already know the answers to those I asked above. And that we humans are destroying this planet we live on is already known. That we don’t have resources to support the population of this planet indefinitely is known. That spouting endless streams of dirty smoke into the air and dumping millions of gallons of chemical waste into waterways is not good for people, cities, agriculture, oceans, fish, animals is known.

Why don’t you care?

Ignorance is not a luxury we have time for. I wonder why you are okay leaving your children and grandchildren and their children a planet that we are killing and quite likely a life that will be hell in many ways. Is it too hard? Are we not smart enough to address this? Do you just not care?

Do you think if we educated our children really well that, perhaps, together, they might have a chance, using science to come up with solutions instead of wishing the problem away? Is it possible that being smart should be celebrated instead of ridiculed? Is there a chance that promoting science instead watching duck hunters, bounty hunters and the stupid ways people die might be a better use of our time?

Pay attention

So why not start looking at the world. The whole world. And people. ALL the people. And start asking questions. Look around. See what’s going on. Use the web but be careful as there is as much bullshit on their as there is truth. Question everything. And where does that idea come to play? Oh yeah, science! The most basic fundamental of science is questioning everything. Even when they discover something, keep questioning it.

Unlike our politics today and our religious views where everything is black or white, I’m right, you’re wrong and you are stupid for believing it. Science finds truths and keeps on asking. The problem is we spend too much time believing partisan political hacks and too little trying o understand the truth and the science behind so many issues we face.

Do want news? Don’t watch CNN or FoxNews or MSNBC or SunNews. CBC in Canada and the BBC is Britain are generally better at reporting (but kep asking questions). Watch shows like Vice and Cosmos to learn the realities and the histories. Read all sides of a story, not just the one you want to hear. Assume everything you believe and hear is wrong and start asking. Question politicians. And listen carefully to what they say in response. Then ask more. You pay them. Find out what the party they belong to is pushing. And ask. Sometimes things that sound good on paper are just steps to other thing which are worse.

If you give a crap about your family and having a sustainable life, demand more from their education. Push your kids to learn and ask. And when you can’t answer a question, don’t get mad or upset that you don’t know. Go find out. You’ll be surprised how easy that can be most of the time.

Science needs to be something more than a bad word. Let’s get the gag off science and start really working for the future. Our children deserve better than we are leaving them. Let’s help them deal it by preparing them as best we can for it. That starts and ends with education. And science.

Science

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