U2 Manager Discusses $100M 'Songs of Innocence' Marketing Deal and Future Plans With Apple
As part of its iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcement, Apple featured U2's latest "Songs of Innocence" album, making it the company's biggest album release ever by providing the title to 500 million iTunes customers for free. The album and its lead single "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" are the cornerstone of an upcoming marketing campaign by Apple that is worth an estimated $100 million, although the deal has received some criticism from users who do not wish to have the album added to their iTunes accounts and in some cases automatically downloaded to their devices.
But the deal is a significant one by any measure, and Billboard Magazine sat down with U2's new manager Guy Oseary to talk about the deal and the band's future plans with the Cupertino company.
In the Billboard interview, Oseary shot down criticism that the deal was disruptive to the music industry and detrimental to other artists, arguing that the release is a "big concept" and should serve to inspire other musicians to innovate in their own way.
Well first of all, when music becomes a piece of the conversation at an Apple event, that’s always a good thing. Two is, the power of music and the fact that it can actually be shared with 7 percent of the planet in one push of a button. That’s a pretty big concept. Any sort of innovation may inspire other people to do things that are innovative. We may see someone sitting with another manager, or another band going, "Hey, what can we do that's interesting maybe with our lyrics or our videos or something interactive with the ticketing to our shows?"
Oseary also confirmed that the Apple-U2 deal is a "long-term relationship", with the parties working together to promote innovation in music.
We're working on other things as well with Apple that have to do with how music is heard and innovation, with [iTunes VP of content] Robert Kondrk leading that charge. There’s a lot of things still to come that are really interesting. The band really wants people to engage with albums, they want them to support the art form of artwork and lyrics and video content and just get into their music in a much different way than an MP3 file.
Focusing on the deal itself, Oseary stopped short of confirming that Jimmy Iovine played a role in negotiating the deal, saying only that the Beats co-founder and now Apple employee has long been "a source of support and guidance" for the band. Given Apple's long-standing interest in music and its dominant position that has been threatened in recent years by subscription services, Iovine has been viewed as a key reason for the Apple-Beats deal for his extensive relationships within the music industry.