a word on the new U2 album…

a word on the new U2 album…

Starting to notice U2 is getting some backlash for releasing their new album “Songs of Innocence” as a free gift to iTunes users. If you have an iTunes account the album is already available in your purchased music page or in the cloud if you store your music there.

I’m not the biggest U2 fan out there, but I do enjoy and respect their work. I haven’t listened to the new record yet, but I have to say I think it is so crazy backwards people are starting to complain about getting something for free from one of the biggest bands of all time. Whether you are a fan or not, you were just given a gift and it’s something to appreciate and say “thank you” for. You don’t hand back gifts to your friends and family and say “Um, not a fan of this, I didn’t ask for it, and how could you even dare think I would want this!?” No, no you don’t. You politely smile and say “Thank you so much! I really appreciate this.”

I think it’s hilariously sad that people want to remove the album from their library and/or iCloud account, and that Apple is now having to handle these requests… as if it’s taking up some kind of physical space in their home environment. U2 didn’t deliver a giant ugly couch to your house. They gave you the gift of music. Did we forget that anything digital doesn’t even physically exist? Nor does “The Cloud” – Yep, for the unaware it’s actually just a big floating “nothing” out there in infinite space where all our digital “nothings” are stored. It couldn’t possibly intrude on your life other than the unbearably action of having to see an album in your music library that you’ll have to scroll past when you come across it in your library (likely to happen every now and again). I can only imagine the horror of “Oh no, there’s that damn U2 album again! Gotta flick my thumb on the screen one more time so I don’t have to see it!” I mean dang, Apple & U2, how could you do that to people?!?

There are those reviewing and critiquing the album with a certain pompous tone, again with “I didn’t ask for this, so let me dissect and try to destroy it with my very special and very valuable opinion.” The truth is it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of the album, even if you are the biggest U2 fan who ends up not liking it. You know why? It was a gift, it was free. The band wasn’t trying to sell you on buying the album and you have no personal investment in it. It was a piece of work they deemed worthy of sharing at no expense to their fans.

There are also those acting shocked, as if their privacy has been invaded, pretending to be angry that iTunes “hacked” into their iTunes account to give them something for (dare I say it again?) FREE. Oh, please… your privacy is invaded every second online, don’t act surprised or creeped out that a U2 album magically appeared on your computer one day (Nickelback, maybe). Personally, I think these guys who are upset about invasion of privacy are the same guys that rock out to Pantera but are afraid somebody will find out there’s a Celine Dion track in their music library… NOBODY CAN KNOW!!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment and say I think it’s pretty cool one of the biggest bands ever has made this move. If we all went out to our mailboxes today and U2 sent us a physical CD of their new album we’d probably all be like “Hey, that’s pretty cool!” Instead, paranoid and irrational internet is taking over this generous situation and has begun to over analyze and destroy it. That being said, just remember that musical tastes change over time, and even if you don’t enjoy the album today, or you might not be a fan of U2 at this very moment, down the road you may want this record, and heck, you may even really appreciate it.

– Brad

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Food For Thought

I saw a few things online today that reminded me how the majority of people value music these days. Particularly, there’s an article floating around out there titled “10 Things You Should Never Pay For.” Sure enough, the first thing on that list is…. (unpaid for drumroll please…) … Music Downloads! Yep. The article says “These days it doesn’t make sense to spend your hard-earned cash on just one song or an album where you can legally get an entire catalogue of music for the price of one album or stream for free.” 

Okay, sure, whatever — I get your “Ways to Save” trendy little article. That’s just, like, your opinion, dude — and honestly, I have absolutely no interest in lecturing anyone on why that’s terrible advice to those who actually considers themself a fan of music. I’m not going down that road. There are those that understand why opting to only stream music for free online isn’t a good thing and then there are those that can’t process the information in their brain. It’s not their fault, and I hold no grudge (though, I used to). For now, we’ll just leave it at that.

What it really got me thinking about was not necessarily the value of music, which has been a never ending debate for this generation, but what a PRIVILEGE music is to have. That’s not debatable to me, that’s just a fact. Music is a privilege. I started thinking about how a song gets to the person who consumes it and began relating it to buying an apple in the grocery store. You walk in there and there it is, BAM, an apple. In the same sense you hop online and there it is, BAM, that song you like. Of course those that are in need of an apple don’t just sit around in the store and wait for a way to get it for free. They just pick out an apple that looks good to them and they go buy it, straight up. The difference with music (being the apple) and it being available online (the grocery store) is that you have a choice to buy it, or go somewhere else and get it free. Either way, the apple or the song is there (“Presto!”) waiting for you like magic. 

However, if you start working your way backward as to how either of them got there you’ll (hopefully) begin to realize why I say it’s a privilege. You see, before it sat there waiting for you, somebody had to put it there. The grocer stocks the apples at the store just as someone sitting at a desk with a computer uploads a song to the internet. Before that a truck had to travel long distances to bring many apples to the store just as any music distributor service has to send out many songs and albums to specific destinations online (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, etc). Before that a host of many talented individuals are working at some factory somewhere to clean, wash, and make sure the apples are ready for distribution. This is similar to the many talented individuals who are working in a recording studio (or music factory, if you will) to perfect the vocals, the guitar, the bass, the drums, clean up the sound, mix, and master before it is distributed to the masses online. And, before that you’ll find the farmer working hard on his land to plant the apple seeds, tend to the orchard, spend countless hours growing and nurturing the food to the best of his capability, to create a fruit people will enjoy. Like that farmer, there is a songwriter sitting somewhere working hard at crafting a song people will enjoy, who spends not just many hours, but a whole lifetime nurturing his craft. He’s someone aiming to get better and better and better so he can make a living doing something he deems enriching to people’s lives. When you think about all of THAT, and how many people are involved, how many jobs are at stake, how many talents are working in harmony together, you find it’s quite an undertaking and an important little story behind that one apple you’re buying for 99 cents, or a single song for generally the same amount. If you ask me that’s quite a deal for the consumer…

So, with that said (and continuing with my little apple analogy here!) as you bite into a really delicious piece of fruit you are completely enraptured by it’s flavor and how it makes you feel. You aren’t thinking about how much it cost, and you probably wouldn’t even remember how much you paid for it anyway. You’re just sitting there telling yourself “this is reeeally REEEALLY good!” That experience is priceless, it’s awesome — and it’s a privilege to have that feeling so readily available to us (in fruit or music form!). But, that IS what music does for people every single minute of every single day at any given moment. So, is it worth your hard earned money? Hell yes it is. But, I guess that’s just my opinion… if it’s yours too feel free to share this post 

Anyway, just wanted to vent a little, not really out of frustration but as a means to educate the uninformed. It’s important for the modern music listener to understand that the internet does not make your music, other humans do. It’s also important to eat healthy, so go grab some fruit, put on your favorite record, sit back and appreciate the good things you have and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

Have a good one,
~ Brad