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.

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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.

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Top Rated Comments

Nunyabinez Avatar
128 months ago
Considering 99% of customers are complaining about having U2's album put on their iTunes and iPhones, I don't think they should be discussing future plans of any kind.

Proving again that 87.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriot24 Avatar
128 months ago
The deal is fine. Apple should have just set the album to "Free" on the store and let everyone download it as they pleased rather than putting it in "Purchased", which had a lot of undesirable ramifications.

My guess is that they won't do that again.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Harrycooke Avatar
128 months ago
Considering 99% of customers are complaining about having U2's album put on their iTunes and iPhones, I don't think they should be discussing future plans of any kind.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HenryDJP Avatar
128 months ago
Yep it's selling so well that they had to force Apple users to have the album on iTunes even if we didn't like it or want it. Really, on my Purchased Songs Apple? :rolleyes:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
X-X Avatar
128 months ago
I will never forgive Apple for forcing this into my personal Library.

That sets a horrible precedent - next time they push Justin Bieber onto everyones devices because they struck a deal with the label...

Or all of a sudden apps that you don't want show up on your devices, because of a marketing campaign.

NEVER TO THIS AGAIN.

Fire Robert Kondrk immediately!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
128 months ago
U2 rocks!

Love the new album.
Great marketing strategy by them and Apple.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)