Published Nov 07, 2014If U2's iTunes release stunt was intended to get attention and ensure that the Irish arena gods weren't ignored, then, well, mission accomplished. Between Bono's apologies, removal tools and the band's sneaky Grammy scheme, the band have become rather fascinating as of late. Now, Bono has offered up some more choice quotes in which he defended Spotify and seemingly went back on his apologies regarding the force-fed distribution of Songs of Innocence.
Speaking on Thursday (November 6) at the Web Summit tech conference in Dublin, Ireland, Bono weighed in on the debate surrounding online streaming services by voicing his support for Spotify,
Reuters quotes Bono as saying, "People pick on Spotify. Spotify give away 70 percent of their revenues to rights-holders. It's just that people don't know where the money is because the record companies aren't being transparent."
According to Bono, "The real enemy is not between digital downloads and streaming. The real enemy, the real fight, is between opacity and transparency. The music business has historically involved itself in quite considerable deceit, but if we can change that bit and people can actually see how many times they are being played, where they have been played, get direct access to the information about the people that are listening to them, get paid by direct debit, then I think even those micro-payments will add up to something."
Is Bono's view accurate? After all, Taylor Swift recently pulled her catalogue off of Spotify, and her album 1989 is now breaking records with its massive sales.
Then again, at least Bono knows his perspective is skewed; he said, "I'm already paid too much. I'm a spoiled rotten, overpaid, over-nourished rock star. One of the reasons I haven't been vocal about music artists [getting fair payment] is that I know I'm the wrong spokesperson for this."
On the other hand, one issue that Bono is most definitely qualified to speak on is U2's controversial release strategy for Songs of Innocence, which saw the album suddenly appear in iTunes users' libraries.
Although the singer subsequently apologized for this violating approach, he took a rather different perspective this time around: "It's one of the proudest things for us ever. We always wanted our music to be heard, and the idea that we could have worked for years and years [on] what we think are the most personal songs that we have ever written — and you have to become very raw to write like that — only then for them maybe not to be heard was terrifying. So we were just thrilled that we got a chance to introduce ourselves to people who weren't fans of listening to rock music, or people that listen to Bhangra in India, or whatever, all around the world."
He added that 100 million people listened to some of the music, and 30 million people listened to the whole album. "So we did in three weeks with Songs of Innocence what took us 30 years with The Joshua Tree," he said.
Furthermore, the band were paid by Apple, so he doesn't believe that the strategy devalued the music.
And even if it pissed people off, Bono argued, "We got a lot of people who were uninterested in U2 to be mad with U2. And I would call that an improvement in the relationship."
Well, if Bono would rather be hated than ignored, then he's definitely on the right track. Keep it up, sir!