Bono has expressed his regret over that U2 iTunes album controversy in an exclusive excerpt from his upcoming memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, shared with the Guardian.
On that fateful day of Oct. 13, 2014, everybody and their mama had an iTunes account. It was the good ol' days of spending our money on our favorite tracks individually before we officially decided if we wanted to purchase the entire album.
But Bono was dead set on changing the world of downloadable music forever. He recalled thinking, We should give it away to everybody. It’s their choice whether they want to listen to it.
U2's album Songs of Innocence was forcibly made available to every one of the 500 million–plus users of iTunes for free. You would think the world would be excited about free music, but many were upset when the album was automatically added to the "purchased" section of their music libraries.
The disruption caused a lot of conversation around consumer consent, and fellow musicians even claimed that it devalued the music.