Friday, September 12, 2014

No Longer The Cutting Edge Of Rock

You know you are old and insignificant when the very market you are trying to reach doesn't know who you are. And if you are of the same age, give or take a decade, of an old and insignificant rock band, you feel pretty damned old yourself.

Apple launched their new iPhone with a generous bonus for absolutely everyone who already has iTunes. That's a lot of people in this world, given the popularity of iPads and iPods and iPhones. But were the recipients grateful? Were they pleased?

The youngest of the technologically savvy are not happy.
iTunes users don't all want U2

Who is U2? They have no real idea. It's a band that hasn't released a new album in five years, which is almost half the lifespan of the younger set that is coming into the market for advanced devices. Why is this U2 music on my device, they are asking, and why are their songs popping up in my shuffle when I didn't ask for this?

Not exactly the welcome that U2 was expecting when it teamed up with Apple to reach as many ears as possible with its latest album, "Songs of Innocence".

The band was probably feeling fairly confident when they decided on the strategy. They are considered a powerhouse rock band, and their tours have generated millions in profits. What must Bono and the Edge be feeling now, with the kids they were trying to reach complaining that they are being forced to listen to this music that isn't hip hop or rap or the saccharine pop of the Katy Perry sort. U2 gave the album away for free to attract that very audience, the youngsters who don't know U2 but would like the music if they only opened their hearts and their ears.

The numbers are not great. Of all the millions who could download "Songs of Innocence" for free, only 200,000 have done so. Among the rest, there is annoyance that an entire album is sitting in their device, wasting space.

It doesn't matter that music critics laud the songs. It's a question of choice, and not being given any. A bunch of tunes from some old Irish dudes pops up in a list of purchases and every time you check that list it's there, waiting expectantly to be included with the rest of the music but you didn't invite it and it won't go away.

What about those of us who heard of the free giveaway and plan to download the album as soon as we get a minute to spare?

We are feeling like a bunch of pensioners who should be sitting on a bench in the sun, earbuds in place, enjoying the sounds of our long-gone youth. The kids don't know our music, nor do they care to listen to the sounds of the previous generation. How can a group of men with grown children possibly speak to them, they might wonder as they ignore the free download and Twitter away their complaints at the inconvenience and the intrusion.

Adults. Always making kids do what they don't want to do or forcing things down their throats.

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