U2’s new album Songs of Innocence has miraculously appeared in iTunes libraries across the globe and many people are not cool with that. Haters: I’m judging you.
For some (or perhaps just me), news of a brand-new and free U2 album was more exciting than its collaborating news, the iPhone6. I downloaded Songs of Innocence immediately and have been jamming to it ever since. A few days later, though, anyone who didn’t actively search out and download the album found it in their iTunes libraries anyway, as a nice little “gift.” Apparently, free music really pisses off some people.
I’m not going to suggest that Songs of Innocence is the best album ever put forth or even the best album by U2. However, I feel like we’re reaching the pinnacle of greedy, arrogant first-world behavior when our biggest issue of the day is free music. iTunes didn’t take away something you paid for — they gave you music from one of this planet’s most famous and well-loved modern rock bands. Complaining because it showed up in your inbox without you downloading it is a little like complaining about the wrapping paper on the best present ever.
People aren’t just whining about this, they’re in an all-out rage… over nothing. iTunes, Bono, The Edge and company didn’t “rape” your library or install a virus. They gave you music. Good music. Or, as the U2 front man himself said in an essay, “…the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.”
Another way to look at it: In a day and age where millionaire rock stars are suing kids for illegally downloading their $10 album, U2 dished out theirs for free. I’m not naive enough to think the Irish rockers didn’t make any money from the deal. I’m simply suggesting that they found a way to make sure you weren’t the ones dishing out the funds. That’s pretty damn nice.
I’ve also heard some complaints centered on not even knowing U2 was a band. I imagine for the five people on this planet who didn’t recognize the band name, it had to be a little weird. Like when you’d buy a new computer and Windows Media Player came pre-installed with three random ambient music tracks to get you started but that you’d only ever listen to when your shuffle landed there. I’m still not sure that warrants the kind of rage taking place on social media right now, though. Unless you’re mad because there are actually humans in this world who don’t know about U2 because, yeah, I’m pretty disappointed about that, too.
But here’s the thing, the big picture, the grand scheme: Free music, wanted or not, is not the end of your world. Right now on our planet people are dying of starvation and curable diseases. People are being murdered because they believe in a different god or (worse) the same god but choose to worship differently. Humans are being bullied because of who they love or how they define themselves. Whether any of those people are changed by the free download of Songs of Innocence is irrelevant. At the end of the day, you’re still a jerk if your major complaint against the world is that time you got free music.