The Aquinian

How Bono killed Rock ‘n Roll- Sponsored by iTunes

From where the Lance of Langinus struck Bono, he plucked out a new album. Our saviour. People woke one morning last week to find this musical gospel sitting in their iTunes library. You 2 can have it for free. A good thing, since the Joshua Tree bears rotten fruit these days.

If we can afford the shrivelled rockers and seriousness, let’s give it up. It’s a bold move: giving us all that unadulterated Irishness for free. All of us, that is, who use iTunes. Apple customers, then. Any correlation there? Maybe, if you’re the kind of asshole that boycotts Apple products so they don’t look like sheep—i.e. a different kind of sheep.

Bono says it’s pretty “punk-rock” of them.

Still. A corporation that supports Dad-rock? Can’t be that simple.

It’s reminiscent of Radiohead and In Rainbows. Pay-what-you-want. If you want, pay nothing. If you don’t want, don’t bother.

There were options.

(Andrea Bárcenas/AQ)

iTunes users didn’t get a choice. Later, sure. You can get rid of it. It’s easy. But if you want it back, be prepared to pay for it.

If you thought you were in control of your iTunes, you were wrong. It’s free to use, after all, so what do you actually own of it? If you lose any of your digital copies, good luck getting them back.

A simple “Hey iTunes user! Want some music?” would have sufficed. A great opportunity to use an annoying mascot a-la Microsoft’s paperclip. Hilarity.

Would it have been in-your-face? Yes. But not nearly as intrusive. “No, Apple Abel(™), I don’t want that shitty music.” Alternatively: “Uh, sure. Probably won’t listen to it, though.”

Maybe that was the goal. A person who would click yes and not listen is now more likely to check out the turd sitting in their collection. People are like that. Who reads user agreements?

The fact is, iTunes isn’t just a music player. It’s a marketplace. A musical engine of capitalism. Music and business are tighter than Bono’s leather chaps. It’s always been that way. Why else would there be an album composed entirely of Elvis’ banter?

Maybe you thought that iTunes was a haven. You could turn on iTunes, slip in your headphones and be safe from corporate tunes.

Not so much. Advertising is less inclined to subversive than ever before. Facebook doesn’t hide that it tracks your browser data to target you with ads—at least not well. iTunes has always had a hand in directing your music choices if you’ve used it to purchase music.

It’d be nice if they could at least pretend they’re not trying to steer you towards media they want you to consume.

The problem isn’t that iTunes is marketing to you under the guise of being “free”. That was implicit from the get-go and the onus is on you. No, the problem, the reason for the toxic backlash is because they’ve given up the pretense that marketing to you hasn’t always been their goal.

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