Apple offers a way to ‘return’ free U2 album
(CNN) — Apple learned an important lesson this week: Not everyone likes U2. And even those who do really don’t like it when you put music in their libraries without asking.
A week after giving away a U2 album to most iTunes users, Apple has announced a way for customers to get rid of it. The company released instructions on how to delete the album from an iCloud account, complete with a giant “Remove Album” button.
At the end of Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch announcement last week, the company trotted out the rock supergroup to announce a major marketing collaboration.
Apple was giving away U2’s first new album in five years, “Songs of Innocence,” to 500 million iTunes customers for free. It was a clever way to get more people to sign up for iTunes, and Apple even produced a special ad to promote the collaboration.
Unfortunately, instead of just offering customers the option to download the album for free, Apple went ahead and gave it to them without asking. The album was dropped into the 500 million active iCloud accounts in 119 countries. The people who have their iTunes account set up to automatically download any purchases saw the files on their computers and mobile devices.
Many complained that the way the album was distributed was invasive. It also came off as tone-deaf, since it happened so soon after iCloud’s security was scrutinized for its part in high-profile celebrity photo hacks.
Apple spent up to $100 million on the U2 marketing campaign, according to The New York Times.